Val Verde teachers have reached a tentative accord on a new contract, ending an impasse with the school district during which they had staged rallies to seek better pay.
The Val Verde Teachers Association voted for the agreement by a margin of 82 percent, union President Albert Trudel said. The voting, in which 90 percent of the group’s 857 members participated, took place for a week, with the results tallied Thursday afternoon.
The contract now goes to the Val Verde Unified School District board for an Oct. 6 vote. The district serves parts of Perris and Moreno Valley.
The two sides had been meeting with a mediator the past few months and declared an impasse. During rallies outside the district office and at board meetings, teachers pressed the district for what they considered a better deal.
“We got the district to finally move and get closer to what we were asking for,” Trudel said.
Darrin Watters, assistant superintendent for business services, said Val Verde was excited to see the contract settled.
“It just took the two sides coming together and being creative and leaning on our strong relationship with each other, working to get a good deal,” he said.
The contract provides teachers with back pay for fiscal 2015, with a 4 percent bonus; a 6 percent raise for fiscal 2016; and a 3.5 percent increase for fiscal 2017, Watters said. It also includes a slight benefits increase for this fiscal year and the next to reduce out-of-pocket health costs.
Teachers will work an extra five minutes a day, equal to two extra school days, Trudel said.
The union said Val Verde fell behind neighboring districts when it comes to teachers’ salaries and that such a stance hurt its ability to retain teachers and replace those who retired.
“We’re still not where we need to be but we’re moving in that direction,” Trudel said.
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