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Sweetwater Teachers Avert Strike After Tentative Deal Reached

After more than six months of contentious negotiations, Sweetwater Union High School District and the teachers union, Sweetwater Education Association, reached a tentative deal late Thursday night.

The union, which represents 2,000 educators in the Chula Vista district, announced the agreement via Facebook: "SEA is pleased to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement tonight with the District."

Last month, the teacher's union overwhelmingly voted to strike if a deal was not reached. The main bargaining sticking point was over health plan contributions. Teachers were also requesting a 3 percent raise and a reduction of class sizes by 10 students per class.

According to SEA, the tentative three-year contract includes a district contribution of $12,068 of the cost of health benefits in 2014, representing 68 percent for a family rate cost of Kaiser medical, vision, dental and life insurance. Starting in January 2015, the contribution will be capped at $13,130.

Under the deal, teachers will also receive a 2 percent salary increase retroactive to January 1, 2014, and a 3 percent increase beginning July 1, according to SEA.

Class sizes are also being reduced over the next two years to a ratio of 28 students to one teacher by 2016.

Union representatives said a ratification vote will be scheduled soon.