FRESNO, Calif. - After 18th months of contract negotiations, it all comes down to this final vote. Hundreds of Fresno Unified teachers decided Monday, whether to accept or reject the district's latest and final offer.
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About 2,000 members of the Teacher's Association showed up Monday. Most were excited to see their long, drawn-out process finally come to an end. But there were others, who believed more could have been done.
Worn and weary, lines of teachers gathered to cast their ballots Monday -- relieved that the end is in sight.
The last time teachers gathered in such numbers it was back in October when members voted to give the union permission to strike. The energy is much different Monday. A tentative agreement, reached by both sides, sat on the table.
"I would very much want to work in a partnership and some of the proposals they made show they are willing to do that," Fresno Teachers Association Vice President, Peter Beck, said. "I would say patience, you aren't going to get everything done in one deal. Is this the perfect contract? No."
Still, a lot of teachers were not pleased with this contract or the district. A group who preferred to stay anonymous told us they feel betrayed by issues like class size. The new contract only sets ratios of students to teachers, but no capsizes.
The contract did include an 8.5 percent salary increase, better healthcare benefits and the creation of a special education committee. FTA leaders say this is just the beginning.
"It's kind of like day one, the proof will be will they work with us, will we work with them," Jon Bath of the Fresno Teachers Association said.
Approving the contract is the first step in getting past a FTA, FUSD divide. The FTA is expected to tally the vote Tuesday evening.Then on Wednesday, the Board of Education is expected to vote.