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Sweetwater Teachers Avert Strike After Tentative Deal Reached

People with Sweetwater Education Association hold signs and rally in Chula Vi...

Credit: Sweetwater Education Association

Above: People with Sweetwater Education Association hold signs and rally in Chula Vista on March 21, 2014.

After more than six months of contentious negotiations, Sweetwater Union High School District and the teachers union, Sweetwater Education Association, reached a tentative deal late Thursday night.

The union, which represents 2,000 educators in the Chula Vista district, announced the agreement via Facebook: “SEA is pleased to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement tonight with the District."

Last month, the teacher’s union overwhelmingly voted to strike if a deal was not reached. The main bargaining sticking point was over health plan contributions. Teachers were also requesting a 3 percent raise and a reduction of class sizes by 10 students per class.

According to SEA, the tentative three-year contract includes a district contribution of $12,068 of the cost of health benefits in 2014, representing 68 percent for a family rate cost of Kaiser medical, vision, dental and life insurance. Starting in January 2015, the contribution will be capped at $13,130.

Under the deal, teachers will also receive a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to January 1, 2014, and a 3 percent increase beginning July 1, according to SEA.

Class sizes are also being reduced over the next two years to a ratio of 28 students to one teacher by 2016.

Union representatives said a ratification vote will be scheduled soon.

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