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Courtenay Edelhart/ The Californian

Kern High School District teachers, bus drivers and other staff members seek pay increases during the March 3 KHSD school board meeting at the district offices on Sundale Avenue.

Teachers in the Kern High School District would -- under a tentative agreement put in writing Tuesday -- receive a 4 percent salary raise next school year and a 1 percent raise this year, the first ongoing salary increase in seven years.

Vickie Shoenhair, president of the Kern High School Teachers Association, said district and union bargaining teams put a verbal agreement in writing Tuesday morning that would effect 1,700 employees.

The agreement on pay increases, retroactive to July 1, would span two years with an option to reopen elements of the contract during a third year.

"We feel that it's fair," Shoenhair said.

KHSD spokesman John Teves said a financial tide has finally turned so the district is in a position to help teachers.

"We are grateful that we finally have some funding to show some recognition to our teachers," he said.

Shoenhair said teachers received the last ongoing raise as a result of a state settlement that trickled down to schools throughout California over a three-year period.

"The last raise we had was really not a raise but settlement of a lawsuit," Shoenhair said.

The Kern High School District and teachers union reached a tentative and "conceptual" contract agreement last Wednesday, but district and union representatives would not release raise amounts until the tentative contract was in writing.

Teves said that the raise package is not final until both association members and district trustees approve the agreement.

Union members are scheduled to vote on the contract March 31 and finalize a decision in a second vote April 3.

District school board members would consider the document after union ratification.