West Sacramento School District, Teachers Reach Tentative Agreement

After a year of negotiations and threats of a strike, the Washington Unified School District and Washington Teachers Association finally came to a contract agreement.

"Big sense of relief," teacher Jessica Pagan told FOX40. "Lots of smiles today on campus."

With the help of mediators fighting on each side, talks started 9 a.m. Thursday between the school district and teachers union.

"Now, as new money has come, we are here to do a professional job, teaching children and we expect to be reciprocated with the new money the district gets," said teacher Douglas Kneppz

By 9:30 p.m., a tentative three-year deal was signed.

In a statement the district said:

"This is a major milestone for both parties but there is still much more hard work to be done. We look forward to the continued collaboration with all our employees to better serve our students and build a community that truly is a gateway to extraordinary possibilities."

Pagan said, "Everybody is just really relieved to have reached a solution."

This new agreement includes raises for each school year from 2015-2016 to 2017-2018 and increases in district contributions to health benefits, among other changes.

Strikes across the region could've been a reality for West Sac teachers.

"I think we had probably gained enough ground to get everybody behind doing that," Pagan said. "Fortunately, we didn't have to go there."

The next step is for the teachers association to vote on the agreement. When it's ratified it will then go to the school board for final approval.