San Diego Unified and its teachers union have finally struck a tentative agreement over educators’ working conditions and pay after more than a year-and-a-half of bargaining. The deal could help the school district make ends meet in the middle of budget cuts.

The agreement, which must be approved by the school board and the members of the teachers union, is not yet official. It includes five furlough days for the next two school years — unpaid days off that equal a roughly 2.7 percent pay cut annually — and an increase in what educators pay for healthcare. Those concessions are a key part of the school district’s current plan to balance its budget.

But there were wins for the teachers union too: Stricter rules to control class sizes. Longer lag time between evaluations for senior teachers with good records. Teachers and other educators will ultimately get their salaries restored, plus a 7.16 percent salary increase in 2012-2013.

And the agreement includes an escape clause: If the school district gets an overall increase in money that could be used to pay employees, half of that money would go to paring back the furloughs, said Camille Zombro, president of the teachers union.

“What we’ve proven here is that we’re all capable of bargaining our way through this crisis and honoring our commitment,” Zombro said.

The school board is slated to vote on the tentative agreement on Tuesday.

— EMILY ALPERT

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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