The St. Paul school board approved a new two-year contract between the state's second-largest district and its teachers Tuesday night.

The unanimous vote had been expected after board members appeared at a news conference last month heralding a deal forged a day before a scheduled strike.

Union members ratified the agreement on Feb. 22.

Nick Faber, president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, said that he was especially pleased that the two sides were able to negotiate the hiring of dozens of teachers and support staff members who work with English language learners and special-education students.

Such a move seemed unlikely after the district said it was determined to hold the cost of the contract to $2.07 million annually.

But officials have said the deal will not add to a $17.2 million budget gap being projected for 2018-19.

Teachers will receive 1 percent raises retroactive to Jan. 6, as well as increases tied to years served and education levels attained — commonly known as "steps and lanes."

Those increases now cost the district about $8.5 million per year.

Fifteen new ELL teachers will be added in 2018-19 and 15 more in 2019-20. In each year, five teachers will be deployed to elementary schools and 10 to high schools, where the district picks up many students who leave charter schools and still are in need of ELL help, Laurin Cathey, the district's human resources director, has said.

The two sides also have agreed to pursue new sources of revenue.

Minneapolis Public Schools, which like St. Paul also is facing a significant budget deficit, reached a tentative contract agreement with its teachers last week. Details have yet to be released. Teachers will vote on March 29 and 30.