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The Kenai Peninsula Education Association (KPEA) says the executive committees of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association, the two unions representing Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s (KPBSD) education and support staff, have voted to notify the school district of their intent to strike beginning at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17. The organizations are required under Alaska statute to give the district notice 72 hours before a strike.

A press release from the KPEA points to continued issues over health care costs that KPEA says the district is unwilling to address.

“The Failure of the KPBSD to adequately address the Association’s primary concern of affordable healthcare premiums for public school employees continues to hinder an acceptable agreement,” the KPEA says in the release.

On Sept. 12 the unions presented a proposal to the district to forgo a scheduled two percent pay increase in Fiscal Year 2021 until the outcome of a court case pertaining to a one-time state funding issue is decided if the district would accept the associations’ current health care proposal.

The school district said in a release prior to the associations’ vote that they had requested additional information concerning a condition of the proposal that included a new retroactive provision.

The offer submitted by the associations expired at 4 p.m. on Friday, at which time the associations’ executive committees scheduled a meeting to vote on the strike. At the meeting the executive committees acted following authorization from the associations’ members given in May allowing the committees to call for the strike.

Information previously provided by the school district said that, in the event of a strike, schools would be locked, and no one allowed on the property without the approval of the superintendent. All school activities, including extracurricular activities, and the use of school facilities by other entities would discontinue. The district also said the school calendar would be revised to assure that students receive the state mandated number of school days.

Publisher

Michael Paschall is publisher of the Seward Journal and president of TriDelta, Incorporated Publishing, owners of the Seward Journal.