The Anchorage School District has reached a tentative agreement with the Anchorage Education Association (AEA) Wednesday morning -- five months after more than 3,000 contracted employees started working without a contract. Both sides say the proposed contract is good for one year.

School Superintendent Dr. Deena Bishop says, "We're again glad to get back in the business of education and kids, and the magic that happens in classrooms."

Union President Tom Klaameyer went on to say, "You listen to our testimony at the school board meetings, one of the themes was that we just want time to teach and so this allows us to focus on our students."

Klaameyer says the agreement still has to be ratified by his members but calls this a good step forward. Some of the highlights include an extra $65 in additional health care benefits and more personal days off for employees. What it doesn't include is the three percent salary increase.

"Until the fiscal problems at the state level are solved, I don't think any of us are gonna experience that stability that we all desire," said Klaameyer.

"This is a larger fiscal issue than just Anchorage School District," said Dr. Bishop. "And three percent on the scale was unaffordable in our state at this time."

Both agree this is an issue that could possibly lead to a reduction in staff.

"Hopefully we plan on avoiding layoffs. That anyone want to work for us will, however, our footprint will be a lot smaller," said Bishop.

A vote by AEA Members will happen between November 27 to 29. If ratified by the union, it will then go the Anchorage School Board as a first reading on December 4. It could end up being voted on by the board on December 18.

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