After roundly rejecting two previous contract offers from their bosses, Edina teachers have voted overwhelmingly to accept the latest one.
Now it's up to the Edina school board to decide whether to ratify the new two-year contract. The board is scheduled to vote on the matter at Monday's regular meeting.
"We're pleased to finally get to a tentative [contract] that they would approve," said Randy Meyer, school board chairman.
Ballots tallied Friday by the local union show teachers voted 417 to 52 in favor of the tentative agreement.
"Virtually all of the teachers are relieved to have this behind us," said Van Anderson, president of Education Minnesota/Edina, the local union.
Under the deal, teachers would receive an increase in total compensation of about 6 percent, Meyer said.
That includes a salary increase of 0.5 percent in the current contract year and 1.3 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, Anderson said.
Edina is one of 29 Minnesota school districts that failed to settle contracts before the Jan. 15 state deadline this year. As a result, the district had to pay a $220,000 fine. Teachers are working under the existing contract.
Negotiations have been going on for more than a year, and at one point involved a state mediator.
The teachers voted down contract proposals in October and January.
The main difference this time, Anderson said, is that the district finally acknowledged the increased workload for teachers.
"The previous agreements didn't take into consideration the workload issues and the respect for their use of time that we had discussed at the bargaining table," he said.
Teachers felt the financial package in those proposals did not offset the workload issues, he said.