schools.jpgThe San Francisco Unified School District and its teachers’ union have reached a tentative contract agreement, the district announced today.

The agreement between the district and United Educators of San Francisco was signed at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, less than three weeks before the start of the new school year on Aug. 20, district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

The union’s executive board voted by a 2-1 margin to recommend the agreement to its members, which will now vote on whether to ratify it, according to the district.

The agreement includes a 179.5-day school year — 3.5 days more than the previous two school years. It also calls for a decrease in furlough days, to 1.5 days, with a half-day taken the last day of school and the full day taken instead of a third paid professional development day, district officials said.

The two sides agreed to additional furlough days if neither of two state tax initiatives on the November ballot, Propositions 30 and 38, are passed. Both proposals seek to hike taxes to provide additional funding for schools.

“I really appreciate everyone’s hard work on this agreement,” Superintendent Richard Carranza said in a statement. “When the tide turns in this budget crisis someday, this contract is something we can talk about building on, and I, for one, am looking forward to that day.”

The previous contract expired on July 1, and in May, union members had authorized a strike in response to a stalemate in the negotiations.

Union officials were not immediately available today to comment on the agreement.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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