Education

Central Unified teachers reach agreement with district

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After 14 months of negotiating, Central Unified teachers have reached a tentative agreement with the district, ending a possible strike vote.

The Central Unified Teachers Association and the district had been at an impasse since September 2018, as teachers bargained for increased pay, smaller class sizes and more socio-emotional support for students.

The agreement reached Wednesday evening “still has to be ratified by our membership and approved by the board, but hopefully all goes well with that,” Laura Bolton, a teacher and member of the bargaining committee, said Thursday.

There are about 850 union members.

Details of the agreement can’t be disclosed until June 5, Bolton said, due to fact-finding rules.

The district on Thursday confirmed an agreement was reached Wednesday but did not release details.

Union members said in January that compensation doesn’t track with experience: Teachers with five years of experience average about $56,483 annually at Central and $63,292 at Fresno Unified, a gap that continues with additional years of teaching until the max salary, when the two districts are mostly aligned again.

Although there hasn’t been a strike in recent memory, district and union officials faced a similar problem in 2007, eventually agreeing to a 3% pay raise for teachers and other staff.

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPanoo
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