Kenai, Alaska (AP) - Two Alaska school employee associations have voted to notify the school district with its intent to strike amid contract negotiations, officials said.
The Kenai Peninsula Education Association and Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association voted Friday to go on strike Tuesday following negotiations over a contract that would increase teacher salaries and health insurance, The Peninsula Clarion reported.
The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District offered a contract proposal Thursday, but the associations rejected the offer and made a counter, officials said. The district announced Friday it had asked for additional information on the counter proposal from the associations.
"The failure of the KPBSD to adequately address the association's primary concern of affordable healthcare premiums for public school employees continues to hinder an acceptable agreement," the groups said in a press release.
The school district and associations have stalled contract negotiation progress for more than a year because of rising health care costs, officials said.
After contract negotiations with the district hit a standstill in May, peninsula educators and staff voted May 22 to strike, officials said.
The associations must give a 72-hour advance strike notice to the district superintendent.
"We understand the short-term impact a strike will have on students and families, but the long-term impacts of growing class sizes and shrinking communities, because no one can afford to work here, are far more serious," said Anne McCabe, president of Kenai Peninsula Education Support Association. "The District can end this strike before it even begins if they decide to value our public school employees and offer them a fair contract."