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Fairbanks School Board to prepare response to Education Associations

The Fairbanks School Board prepares to respond to notices demanding the mid-term bargaining of...
The Fairbanks School Board prepares to respond to notices demanding the mid-term bargaining of language related to various articles from the Education Associations FEA and ESSA.(ktvf)
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 11:54 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District School Board canceled their scheduled Board Legislative Committee Meeting on Monday night, and replaced it with a Special Meeting in order to respond to two letters sent to the Board on December 23, 2020. One letter was sent by the Fairbanks Education Association (FEA) and the other was from the Education Support Staff Association (ESSA).

The letters sent by the associations concern the safety of faculty and staff when schools reopen. FEA and ESSA demand to change the language used regarding working conditions in articles contained within the Negotiated Agreements between the Associations and the Board.

The FEA wants revisions and updates to the negotiated agreement article 510, ‘Hazardous and Unsafe Working Conditions’, which currently covers policy detailing that teachers will not be required so search for bombs, or be required to administer non-emergency medication or medical treatment. However this article does not cover the impacts of pandemic outbreaks or viral infection in schools to any degree.

ESSA cites article 7.17, ‘Classroom Safety’ and article 7.18 ‘Safety’ as some of the subjects up for revision in this bargaining discussion. These articles currently state “Employees shall not be required to work under unsafe conditions” but do not contain any language applicable to the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Special Meeting, which was open to the public, was largely occupied by a publicly closed Executive Session attended only by members of the board administration, and legal counsel. In this session the Board discussed negotiation matters pertaining to the notices submitted by the associations. After the Executive Session ended, the Special Meeting quickly adjourned. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School Board President Tim Doran provided a glimpse at the board’s next step in this negotiation.

“We had a good discussion, and the board was able to give direction to the District Negotiator Ivory McDaniels, and communications will be forthcoming very shortly,” Said Doran.

The Special Meeting and the Executive Session, ran a total time of 1 hour and 53 minutes with only 13 of those minutes being open to the public. Only three people had public testimony prior to the Executive Session.

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