Letters of Intent

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

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Letters of Intent

Postby jen_sargent679 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 3:42 pm

Hi!

I have my letter of intent, but no contract. Should I wait to buy tickets? I've noticed that the prices are going up. I'm not sure what to do. :? Also, I have been looking at flights from my hometown to Barrow. All the flights connect to Seattle and then Fairbanks. I will have about 6 hr layover in Fairbanks. Is that enough time to get coolers and meat? Yikes! I need some veterans to talk me through this mess.

Thanks to everyone!

Jennifer
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby Johncn » Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:14 pm

Jen,

Congrats on your new position. A "letter of intent" (LoI) is as good as a contract, and is a legally binding instrument in Alaska. I would buy your tickets, and make your plans. :ugeek:

As far as the six hours in Fairbanks, I don't know that town well enough, but someone here will. It would be enough time for a guerrilla shopping trip in Anchorage if it was during business hours of the man stops you wanted to make. I would suggest considering getting your cooler in the L48, as they are cheaper there, and use it as luggage on the way up, and mail your non-perishables from the airport post office to the village, and fill the cooler with perishables. That, however, is Anchorage advice. I am not qualified to speak to Fairbanks logistics.

Frankly, I fill my coolers in the Lower 48. You don't use ice or dry ice. I freeze my meat, or have the butcher shop do it for me, and those packages serve as "ice" for me, as do bags of frozen veggies, like corn and lima beans. I get fresh produce - which is locally fresh, inexpensive and plentiful in summer - and put it right in there on top of, and interspersed with the butcher wrapped meat before I go to the airport, and seal it well with clear tape. It's fine even in the heat of a Florida July for the short time it's waiting to be put on the plane. Once at altitude, it stays cool in the cargo hold, and is fine even if my flights are delayed, or I overnight in Anchorage. I use the Igloo Cube cooler mentioned in another thread, but there are many others that would work. Most decent coolers now have much, much better insulation properties than they used to.

Hope this helps,

John
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby jen_sargent679 » Thu May 01, 2014 5:01 am

Thank you so much! I didn't realize that I could buy my meat at home and fly with it. It would really help us. We arrive in Fairbanks at 2 am and don't fly until 7am. I couldn't imagine taking 3 sleepy kids through Wal-mart. I think we are going to camp out at the airport if we have our meat. Do you know anything about checking in fishing/hunting equipment?

Thanks!

Jennifer
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby Johncn » Thu May 01, 2014 6:54 am

Hi,

As far as fishing and hunting equipment goes, I can only really talk about Alaska Airlines, as that is who I always use to and from the Lower 48.

Fishing Equipment

They used to allow travels an exemption toward baggage pieces for this, but now instead they allow multiple pieces of fishing gear to collectively count as "one bag"...which helps.

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/policies/baggage-sporting-equipment.aspx

One piece of fishing equipment is defined as two rods, two reels, and one tackle box. Fishing equipment may exceed 62 linear inches, but no more than 115 linear inches (length + height + width), without incurring an oversize fee.

Hunting / Shooting Equipment

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/policies/baggage-firearms.aspx

One thing to consider is that once you have an Alaska mailing address (like the place the district allows you send your boxes, or a PO Box, you can join the Alaska Airline Frequent Flyer club, and the Alaskan resident's only "Club 49" group using that address before you depart. This little trick gets you two free bags into and out of Alaska for each member of your party on Alaska Airlines flights. It has worked in the past for other new hires, but your experience may vary:

1) Join Alaska Airlines Mileage plan - using your new Alaska address

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan/benefits/about-mileage-plan.aspx

2) Club 49 Membership

http://www.alaskaair.com/content/deals/club49/join-club-49.aspx

Hope this helps,

John
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby Darla Grediagin » Thu May 01, 2014 4:50 pm

Six hours will be enough time in Fairbanks. Fred Meyers, which is equivalent to WalMart, will have everything you need in the area of meat of other groceries. Fred Meyer's is located about two miles from the airport, so it is is quick trip there and back.

I would ship basics of food from Amazon to arrive about a week before you get there. Then all you have to worry about is meat and vegetables. Frozen vegetables take the place of ice in your cooler. Remember it may seem warm in Fairbanks when you go through there, but once you get to the airport, they can store your stuff in a freezer/cooler. In the cargo hold it is -20 once the plane is up in the air. All of your food will be fine.

I hope this helps,

Darla
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby phoebe » Sun Apr 05, 2015 5:07 pm

I can not find any evidence to support that LOI's are legally binding. Jon, what makes you think so? I want to know if they are or not myself and have been researching.
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby Johncn » Mon Apr 06, 2015 3:02 am

Hello,

Well, I'm not a lawyer, but I have spent several weeks in the last six months sleeping at Holiday Inn Express. ;-)

When I worked for a district, we were told by our lawyer to presume that Letters of Intent were binding on the district, but not on the candidate. I think this is because there are subtle variations that matter in the way that such letters are written, and that most staff issue such letters are not qualified to know. So, to err on the side of protecting the district, we were only to use them in cases where we (the school district) was ready to be committed to a hire...nd would not back out because it would mean a protracted and expensive legal process. The teacher would at least have enough traction to initiate an action, although he or she may not be successful. Letters of Intent are not clearly and cleanly defined in most states.

In contrast, teaching contracts are regulated by well established contract law, and by both Alaska Statutes (AS), and Alaska Administrative Code (ACC). If a teacher or administrator breaks a contract, he or she is sanctioned by the state, and loses his or her teaching certificate. I have seen this happen numerous times in my career. There are specific consequences written into Alaska teacher contracts (usually in conjunction the local bargaining unit) which spell out the financial penalty a district can impose if said contract is breached by the educator which include both the financial penalty, and the professional license sanction. In addition, these are not, according to the Alaska Professional Teaching Practices Commission (PTPC), mutually exclusive. In other words they can/will take your certificate away AND keep the amount of the specified penalty from your last check (or sue you for it if you have not started work). There are remedies in law for teachers, too, if a district fails to provide a job, but these are simply part of basic contract law.

Check out: 4 AAC 18.010(d) and 20 AAC 10.020(d)(15), and the Professional Teaching Practices Commission sanctions under AS 14.20.030(a)(3) and (4).

Here is a sample Letter of Intent (LOI) used by a district:

Image

As you can see, this one clearly states that it is binding upon the District. Conversely, they "hope" the educator will consider joining their staff. This seems to spell out the degree of commitment the District has, while signing it does not specify anything beyond "hopes" and "consideration" for the teacher. I am not aware of a single case in which any district I worked for offered an LOI and did not follow through. This is not any sort of state approved form, of course, and Letters of Intent used by districts can certainly vary. If you have a concern, seek legal advice, as we are not qualified to provide guidance on anything. However, this is an actual LOI from an Alaska district.

The bottom line for educators is that an LOI is as good (in most cases) as a contract offer of a job. The districts is serious. You should be, too, if you sign one. If you change your mind, let the district know immediately. Under no circumstances, however, should an educator break an Alaska teaching contract, or there WILL be a consequence. :shock:

Hope this helps.

Regards,

John
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby CSD2 » Sat May 09, 2015 11:37 pm

Hi,
Is an Intent to Hire form from a school district the same as a Letter of Intent? I was informed by the principal that HR will be emailing me the form on Monday and I am not sure if that means I have the job or not. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you,
Chad.
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby Johncn » Sun May 10, 2015 8:17 am

Hello,

I really don't know anything about an "Intent to Hire Form". That sounds like an internal thing with one of the larger districts to me...perhaps a principal telling HR they want you? I really don't know. Sorry. Maybe someone else will have a clue.

Regards,

John
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Re: Letters of Intent

Postby Bushteachers » Sun May 10, 2015 2:08 pm

To OP: check hours of shopping. Arriving at 2 am and leaving at 7 am May not leave you any options. Fred's in anchorage close around midnight and open at 7. Only one 24 hour walmart too. Fairbanks is smaller. Honestly, being a new bush teacher I'd recommend spending one day in Fairbanks to shop. Bush shopping is very time consuming and hectic. Especially for a newbie. I'd recommend Rubbermaid totes instead of coolers. The igloo cube weighs in around 15 lbs, while a tote weighs around 5 lbs. Mail your luggage from Fairbanks (keep some clothes in carry on) and just take your food. If you are paying for your kids, then you have extra bags. You can decide.

We travel with two kids, a nanny, and us. We consolidate clothes/toys in one bag. Everything else is mailed. Look into Fred Meyers bush orders. Once you get in barrow, contact the store in Fairbanks that does the bush orders. Get your fresh veggies that way. They arrive quickly and are cheaper than full circle.
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