Anchorage School District and Teachers’ Union Continue Mediation
Thursday, December, 27, 2018
Mediation continues for the Anchorage Education Association Teachers’ Union and the area school district. Their efforts have been ongoing with several rounds of mediation thus far that have gone late into the night.
So far, the union and the district have not reached an agreement. Should mediation not be able to help them, the negotiations would move on to arbitration, but at least one person familiar with the sessions believes there will eventually be success.
According to ASD Chief of Human Resources Todd Hess, “… we made good progress. We are hopeful. We think we can reach a positive resolution. And the mediator agrees again to come back up. So I think that is very positive.” Hess explained that each session has brought the sides a little closer together and he believes it is just a matter of time before they meet.
Tom Klaameyer, Anchorage Education Association President, agreed and pointed out that the only two sticking points now are curriculum changes related to implementation and salary increase. Klaameyer believes the new curriculum was implemented poorly and feels as if the lesson plans are “scripted.” The goal of the curriculum was to boost standardized test performance.
Klaameyer echoed the feelings of many teachers who have spoken out in the last several months about how the curriculum has negatively affected their daily lessons. In general, teachers feel the school board has belittled their complaints.
The other point of contention in negotiations – teacher salaries – is nothing new in districts across the country. The union brought their demands down to a 9.5 percent increase over three years. The district countered with 2.25 percent over three years stating the requested increase would lead to class crowding and layoffs.