Educators on the Kenai Peninsula voted Wednesday to accept a contract agreement with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, sending the agreement back to the school board for approval.

The executive boards of the Kenai Peninsula Education Association and the Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association certified the results of the ratification vote on a tentative agreement with KPBSD that was reached earlier this month.

The agreement is a three-year deal covering July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021 and averted a planned strike by educators.

A release from KPEA President David Brighton said members of the associations voted to approve the contracts by "overwhelming margins," but did not release the vote totals.

“We’re eager to put this bargain behind us,” Brighton said in the release. “This vote signifies that our member’s interests were heard, and that a fair agreement was reached. I hope the School Board takes quick action to approve this contract so we can all work together to provide the best education possible for the students of our district.”

Educators had been negotiating with the school district for more than a year over rising healthcare premium costs. KPEA and KPESA previously said members wanted healthcare premium costs lowered to a level that's comparable to similar districts across the state.

“I’m very pleased to see a great turnout and a decisive ratification vote by our members,” said KPESA President Anne McCabe. “This process has taken a long time and we wouldn’t be here today without the support of our dedicated educators, and the parents, students, and community partners who were with us one hundred percent of the way.”

The contract has been sent back to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board, who must now vote to approve the contract.

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