Teachers in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ratify their contract with the district ending roughly 14 months of negotiations.
The vote taken late Thursday afternoon at Pioneer Valley High School was 120-4 to approve the agreement with the district that was reached early last Friday morning after an all-night mediation session.
The Board of Education approved the tentative agreement Wednesday night at its regular meeting.
Class scheduling, teacher input on policy decision making and compensation were three key points in the negotiations.
In the contract, all three comprehensive high schools — Righetti, Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley — will move to the seven-period class schedule beginning in the 2014-15 school year. In the schedule, teachers have five regular classes each day with two prep periods, and students take six classes.
Righetti is the only school currently using that schedule this year. Santa Maria and Pioneer Valley high school teachers voted to go to a block schedule with fewer but longer classes several years ago, said faculty association president Mark Goodman.
The teachers will also retain representation on Shared Decision Making committees at each school.
The contract also gives faculty its first salary increase in nearly six years. It calls for a 4-percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2013, and an additional 1.5 percent retroactive to Jan. 1, 2014. An additional 5-percent increase is planned for 2014-15.
The agreement marks the end of more than a year of difficult negotiations. The district and teachers had a long history of working out its differences, but over the past several years that relationship has not been as harmonious, Goodman said.
“We’re in agreement. We’re moving forward now.”