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Orange School Contract Reached

Education: Teachers and district officials must ratify the settlement. Raises are 'substantial,' board member says.


Negotiators for Orange Unified School District and its teachers union reached a tentative contract settlement late Tuesday, officials said.

The teachers' executive board and the school board must approve the agreement.

The district's 1,400 teachers, who have been at odds for years with the district over salaries, must also ratify the agreement.

No terms of the contract were released, but board member Melissa Smith said the raises are "substantial.''

"I am delighted,'' Smith said. "I think the teachers will be very happy with it."

Smith was elected in November and is a member of the board's new majority.

The teachers union campaigned on behalf of the new majority.

During the summer, the union had supported a recall of board members who had opposed raises.

The union said contentious and dragged-out negotiations with the previous board led to hundreds of teachers leaving the 30,000-student district.

The two groups have clashed repeatedly over district finances.

After the recall election, the new board commissioned a study on district operations.

The resulting report said Orange Unified had consistently overestimated its expenses and underestimated district revenues and kept unnecessarily high levels of emergency reserves.

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