Action Line: Juneau School District works out contracts with all three employee groups

    Superintendent Mark Miller was a guest on Action Line, where he discussed how the contracts were reached and what it means for employees.

    The Juneau School District now has new contract with all of its employee groups.

    The last one with administrators was approved by the School Board during a special meeting Wednesday.  The board approved contracts with teachers and classified staff earlier.

    Superintendent Mark Miller talked about the successful negotiations while a recent guest on Action Line.

    Miller said all three contracts were approved unanimously by the School Board.

    "All of them are three year contracts, meaning we don't have to do negotiations for another three years," explained Miller. "That gives us a break and it's the first time since 2009 that all three unions have three year contracts, so we're feeling really good about that. My staff and the negotiating team on both sides of the table have just done outstanding jobs of working together and getting it done in a way that didn't create carnage, yelling, and protest. They just had hard conversations around how much money we have and what is best for the district. While nobody is totally thrilled with their agreements, that's the nature of bargaining; you compromise and you reap something you can live with."

    The superintendent credited the new Interest Based Bargaining approach.

    "The first year we did that, we only got a one year deal because part of the deal with IBB is you have to build trust. This year it felt better to both sides of the teams so we were able to say it's in everybody's best interest to do the three year agreements and not one year agreements. As far as the teachers go, it's a lot of time out of the classroom, it's a lot of personal time, and they have other things they would rather to do as well."

    We asked about the additional costs of the contracts.

    "It depends on which year we're talking about but I think over the course of three years we're probably looking at an extra something around $700,000 or so is the cumulative total. Things get more expensive and so one of the things you have to do is compensate your employees so they can afford to live."

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