Teachers were in the room for only about 40-minutes, but say when they approved the contract, the room erupted in applause. Teachers went through the details of the contract line-by-line asking questions. Then, each member voted.
The Champaign Federation of Teachers says the support was overwhelming. One of the main hang-ups was teacher salary. Teachers wanted a one-year contract with a 3.65% pay increase. The district offered a three-year contract with a 1.3% increase each year.
Members say they felt the tentative agreement was fair, but hope they don't have to go through it again.
Union President Cathy Mannen said, "It feels good to get that done, and to be moving forward and working with the district to solve other problems we need to be solving."
Teacher Elizabeth Slifer added, "Each side did have to give in part of what they were asking for, but we feel happy with what we have."
When asked if making the negotiations public added pressure to make a decision, Mannen would only say making the contract public engaged the public in a different way.
District officials will not make any more comments about the issue until they approve the contract. Details of the agreement will remain confidential until then. The school board will make the final vote at its meeting next week.
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