The Mat-Su Education Association is upset because the superintendent of schools sent an email to all teachers detailing the facts of the contract being proposed by the Mat-Su School Board. The two sides have been bargaining for 18 months with no resolution.
Superintendent Randy Trani sent the letter to teachers so they could evaluate what they are voting on, but the union said that action was “devastating to the bargaining process and detrimental to securing a contract for Valley educators.”
“Last week, the Mat-Su Borough School Board made a ‘last, best offer’ in contract negotiations to the Mat-Su Education Association Bargaining team. Members of the team believed they would have an opportunity to evaluate the proposal, discuss the terms with its membership, and provide an answer, as well as a counteroffer if necessary. Instead, Superintendent Trani short-circuited the process by contacting every single teacher in the MSBSD with the terms of the contract and published editorial pieces in major news outlets with bias opinions,” the union wrote.
Dianne K. Shibe, President of the Mat-Su Education Association noted that the union has been bargaining in “good faith” for 18 months. “These actions erode what little good faith remained between our team and the school board. More than anything, this makes me sad that this new superintendent would blindside the educators he was hired to lead before we even had a chance to work with him.”
“If these are the tactics and practices we can expect from the superintendent and the school board, we are going to have no choice but to take decisive action,” said Shibe. “There is a lot of frustration, anger, and disappointment among our members right now. To be treated this way while also navigating teaching during a pandemic is salt in the wound.”
If the school board stands firm on its offer, the union will call a strike vote for all certificated employees, she wrote.
School board meeting on Wednesday will continue the process of discussing the negotiations. Teachers who have seen the contract should contact their school board members to let them know how they feel about the terms.