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By Courtenay Edelhart/ The Californian
BY LAUREN FOREMAN Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
The Kern High School District and its teachers union reached a tentative contract agreement Wednesday that would include the first on-schedule salary raise for teachers since pre-recession years, according to an email obtained by The Californian Thursday.
Jesse Aguilar, vice president of the Kern High School Teachers Association, wrote in an email to union members Thursday morning that the "conceptual" agreement is not yet in writing but union bargaining team members will meet March 11 to consider the deal.
Aguilar, the union’s bargaining team chairman, did not reveal the amount of the potential pay increase in the email.
"I don’t want to give specific numbers at this moment because the agreement has not been written down yet and our executive board and most likely the school board have not had an opportunity to look at it," he said.
Aguilar added that the faculty bargaining team believes the salary increase is "fair and reasonable."
He thanked union members who wrote letters and swarmed a school board meeting Monday to advocate for a 3.5 percent raise.
"It made a difference," he said. "We were stuck before that night."
KHSD spokesman John Teves said the district began educator contract talks in November 2013. The contract, if approved, would be retroactive to the beginning of the year through 2015-16.
“I know that the district feels like it will be glad to get this taken care of so teachers can get back to teaching and students can get back to learning,” Teves said.
The teachers union is one of nine Kern High bargaining units. Teves said the raise only applies to teachers at this point.
The nine bargaining units have not received an on-schedule raise in about seven years.
“We’ve been very grateful that our bargaining units have been patient for us for a very long time,” Teves said.
Susan Wooden , president of the Kern chapter of the California School Employees Association, which represents classified employees, said the people in her chapter are the lowest-paid workers in the Kern High School District.
“They’re the ones that are working down and dirty at the schools,” she said.
Teves said finalizing a contract for the district’s about 1,700 teachers is a first step in a series of ongoing negotiation meetings to finalize employee contracts.
The classified union group will resume contract negotiations March 12 , Wooden said.