FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified and the Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) have reached a tentative agreement to keep teachers in the classroom just one day before a district-wide strike deadline.
The district and teachers union took part in a joint news conference Tuesday morning to announce the new contract agreement.
"Fresno Unified and the Fresno Teachers Association have reached a tentative agreement that we will be signing this morning right here in front of Historic Royce Hall at Fresno High," said Superintendent Bob Nelson.
The announcement drew applause from teachers, students, and community members in the crowd.
"This is absolutely a historic deal, this is probably the most historic deal in our association's history. Ultimately, the students win," said FTA president, Manuel Bonilla.
The new tentative agreement comes after FTA union members voted to strike if the district did not acknowledge their requests.
After 18 months of back and forth, Bonilla said the district has addressed their concerns and more.
The new contract is expected to increase salaries by 21% over 3 years.
The previous offer called for a 19% increase. The agreement also calls to reduce classroom sizes and offer comprehensive special education caseload guidelines.
Additionally, students and faculty will see an investment in Arts education, as well as the social and emotional well-being of students.
The district and FTA will also work towards ensuring a school nurse will be on every school campus within the district.
"This is just the beginning and it lays a foundation for the work ahead," said Bonilla.
As the deadline for a strike grew closer, the district and FTA met for several hours over the weekend, including on Monday, with their meeting lasting most of the day.
"This took a lot of creative thinking to get us to this point," said School Board President Genoveva Islas.
She explained the district was open to meeting FTA's requests but the district needed to make sure it was financially responsible.
"We did eventually problem solve and land on a place where we could meet a lot of their demands and still maintain the solvency of the district," said Islas.
On Wednesday afternoon, FTA union members will vote on whether to ratify this agreement at Chukchansi Park.
FUSD board members will also vote to ratify the agreement on their end on Wednesday.
Officials want parents to know that a strike will not happen and educators will stay in the classroom.
Fresno Unified has posted full details of the agreement.