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UCSD fills all vacant teaching positions ahead of next school year, changes coordinator roles from hourly to salaried positions

Laura Kraegel

The Unalaska City School District has filled all vacant teaching positions for next school year.

At a meeting Wednesday night, the school board approved a ninth and final new teacher contract, marking the end of a challenging effort to recruit new educators to Unalaska amid a nationwide teacher shortage.

Ten current teachers will leave the district when classes wrap up next month, either for other opportunities or retirement. One of those positions has been eliminated because student enrollment is down. The other nine will be filled by new instructors whose contracts start this summer.

Meanwhile, Superintendent Jim Wilson announced that Food Service Manager Linda Lekanoff will also retire next month after more than three decades with the district.

“We wish her well in her retirement,” Wilson told the school board. “She’s been amazing for the kids. Amazing for the adults, the staff members … It’s hard to replace somebody who’s been here for 34 years, so we’re sad to see her go.”

Wilson said district officials are starting to recruit for Lekanoff’s replacement. They’re also looking for a new technology coordinator.

To help with those hiring efforts, the school board unanimously approved a new salary schedule for administrative coordinator roles, which include the positions of food service manager, technology coordinator, and maintenance supervisor.

The approval switches those jobs from hourly roles, with starting wages locked in at $21-32 per hour, to salaried positions, with pay based on each employee’s experience and duties. Wilson said the change will provide more flexibility and help Unalaska compete with other school districts.

Coordinators “are in extreme demand at this time,” said Wilson. “Employees with those skill sets needed for school districts are very challenging to find.”

“Administration believes it’d be very difficult to fill these coordinator positions at [the previous] pay rate, under the responsibilities that we’d expect of those positions,” he said.

The district estimates the new salary schedule will increase the district’s current budget by about $7,000. For the fiscal year 2024 budget, it’s expected to add around $35,000 in spending.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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