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‘Overworked and underpaid’ | Peninsula Clarion


A bunch of about 50 folks clad in crimson stood outdoors the George A. Navarre Admin Building in Soldotna on Thursday to voice their assist for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s lecturers and assist employees.

“If you truly respect us as teachers, as educators, as support staff (and) as custodians, treat us in such a way,” mentioned instructor Rebecca Dixon.

“Our staff members — everyone from your child’s teacher, your school counselors, your custodians, your aides — are overworked and underpaid,” mentioned Olivia Davis, a former KPBSD scholar.

Attendees held indicators that advocated for higher pay for the district’s lecturers and assist employees whereas audio system criticized raises just lately accepted for employees within the district workplace.

Nathan Erfurth is the president of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association, the union that represents the district’s licensed employees. He mentioned Thursday’s demonstration was organized in response to these wage will increase, which the KPBSD Board of Education accepted this 12 months.

“We’ve just endured an incredibly difficult year and there has been little to no additional compensation for educators,” Erfurth mentioned.

The board of schooling final month accepted a ten% elevate for Assistant Superintendent Kari Dendurent and in April accepted 11.38% raises for the district’s eight director positions. Those salaries will enhance by 1% in fiscal 12 months 2023 and by 2% in fiscal 12 months 2024.

Under the adjustments accepted by the board of schooling in April, salaries for administrators now begin at about $127,000, up from $114,000 within the earlier fiscal 12 months. The wage for the assistant superintendent now begins at $138,500, up from $125,000 within the earlier fiscal 12 months.

The district negotiates bargaining agreements with 4 completely different teams of workers: licensed employees comparable to lecturers, assist employees, principals and individuals who work within the district workplace. Negotiations between the district and the unions that characterize licensed and assist employees sometimes occur first and are completed with each teams on the similar time on the request of the associations. Then comes negotiations with principals and, after that, district workplace employees.

Included within the settlement reached final summer season with KPEA and the Kenai Peninsula Educational Support Association, which represents the district’s assist employees, was a one-time cost of $1,500 for district workers, in addition to $5 per hour raises for district nurses.

Erfurth mentioned Thursday, nonetheless, that the district has not offered the identical type of particular compensation in the course of the pandemic as different districts and has beforehand identified that the $1,500 cost was in lieu of a wage enhance.

“I’m not trying to renegotiate the whole salary schedule,” Erfurth mentioned. “I want to honor our agreements, but I also want to recognize our reality.”

KPBSD Superintendent Clayton Holland on Friday described the wage will increase for administrators as a repair that has wanted to occur. For workers like principals who need to work within the district workplace, director positions include extra work and fewer pay.

“You’re adding 50 days to their contract, but they’re actually making less money overall than they would as a principal,” Holland mentioned.

The decrease pay means there’s little incentive for individuals who already work for and are aware of KPBSD and the peninsula to maneuver up inside the district, he mentioned. The raises weren’t meant to be disrespectful to lecturers, as some demonstrating Thursday mentioned.

“I understand this makes for easy (politicizing),” Holland mentioned of the wage bumps. “I get that, because it’s there, but it needed to be fixed and that’s what I did.”

Mark Fraad is the vice chairman of KPEA and has labored for the district for twenty-four years. He’s at the moment a P.E. instructor at Seward Elementary School and described the raises as “demoralizing.” Fraad mentioned he would have favored the cash for use for signing or retention bonuses for lecturers and assist employees who’re grappling with excessive inflation, or extra immediately towards college students.

“I don’t think anyone saw inflation going to where it is, but people are hurting and people don’t want to teach anymore,” Fraad mentioned.

Holland mentioned Friday that the district administration was taking a look at methods to regulate the assist employees wage schedule previous to the college board’s May 2 assembly in Seward, the place a number of folks decried the wage will increase. The district is mulling “several options” that he hopes to deliver earlier than the college board at its June 6 assembly, Holland mentioned Friday.

“We realize the amount of work that people had to do,” Holland mentioned.

Holland mentioned the district has additionally put out a request for proposals that may permit the district to discover different well being care plans that might decrease prices for district workers.

The KPBSD Board of Education’s June 6 assembly might be streamed dwell by way of Zoom and out there to view on the district’s media web page at media.kpbsd.k12.ak.us.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

Rebecca Dixon speaks in support of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers and support staff during a rally outside of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Rebecca Dixon speaks in assist of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District lecturers and assist employees throughout a rally outdoors of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Rebecca Dixon speaks in support of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers and support staff during a rally outside of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Rebecca Dixon speaks in assist of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District lecturers and assist employees throughout a rally outdoors of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Former Kenai Peninsula Borough School District student Olivia Davis speaks in support of district teachers and staff during a rally outside of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Former Kenai Peninsula Borough School District scholar Olivia Davis speaks in assist of district lecturers and employees throughout a rally outdoors of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Demonstrators rally in support of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District teachers and staff outside of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Demonstrators rally in assist of Kenai Peninsula Borough School District lecturers and employees outdoors of the George A. Navarre Admin Building on Thursday, May 26, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)






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