The Bethel Education Association and the Bethel School District have reached a tentative contract agreement for teachers that, if ratified, comes just in time for the start of the new school year. The agreement was announced over the weekend. Members of the teachers union (BEA) are scheduled to vote to accept or reject it during a meeting late Monday afternoon at Liberty Middle School. The School Board's chance to formally approve the new three-year contract will come at a board meeting Tuesday night. That's two days before the first day of classes, scheduled for Sept. 1. District superintendent Tom Seigel said the first day of classes would start on time if the contract is approved. Before the tentative agreement overall, including wages and benefits, the two sides had settled on contract items such as assignments and transfers, sick leave, evaluations, and academic freedom and responsibility. The latter gives teachers flexibiilty in directing students' studies. Last weekend's breakthrough came after both sides requested mediation by the state Public Employees Relations Commission in an attempt to settle negotiations.
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