The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education has unanimously ratified a new contract with the district's 2,800 teachers following overwhelming approval of the pact by the teachers last week.
"It was one of the highest percentages (of approval) I've seen in a long time," said Don Goddard, president of the Teachers Assn. of Long Beach, following the March 11 vote. The contract will give teachers a 24% pay raise over three years, bringing their average salary to $37,115 a year. Although it does not satisfy a key teacher demand for binding arbitration of grievances, the agreement does provide for non-binding mediation, a compromise Goddard has said was satisfactory.
Accord between the two sides was reached earlier this month, ending the longest and one of the most bitter contract disputes in district history. Negotiations to replace the contract that expired Aug. 31 had gone on for nearly a year.