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SD Teachers Ratify Agreement, Save Jobs

— Teachers have ratified a tentative contract agreement with the San Diego Unified School District, according to the San Diego Education Association. An SDEA statement said the deal, which the Board of Education will vote on Thursday, received 67 percent support.

At a news conference about San Diego Unified's increased graduation rates and lowered drop out rates, Board President John Lee Evans said the teacher agreement will allow the district to continue it's success with keeping students in school.

"What keeps kids in school? Music programs, arts programs, athletic programs and the development of our career tech program as well as our college prep programs. These things we have in place and they've made a difference in terms of our graduation rate," he said. "And the good news is that the tentative agreement we have will keep these programs, will keep these counselors, will keep these graduation coaches in place."

If adopted by board trustees, the agreement would recall 1,481 laid off teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians just two days before their lay offs were set to go into effect. The new contract extends five furlough days for two more years. It also defers a 7 percent pay increase teachers were set to get in three increments over the coming school year.

Those raises will be paid out when, or if, additional funding becomes available under the agreement.

Some parents and Board Vice President Scott Barnett have criticized the deal as sacrificing too much class time. If Gov. Jerry Brown's November tax initiative fails, the district could add up to 14 more furlough days to cover necessary cuts. The initiative would temporarily increase income tax on the state's wealthiest residents and sales tax by a quarter-cent. The initiative would bring about $50 million to San Diego Unified.

City News Service contributed to this reporting.

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