***The video above is from a previous report***

AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – It’s official — after long negotiations and threats of a strike, Akron Education Association members approved their new three-year contract on Tuesday.

The school board unanimously voted to also approve the teacher’s contract Monday night.

The contract, which goes into effect July 1, includes three-year wage increases of 4%, 3% and 3.5%, a freeze on members’ health care premiums and holds the line on the definition of assault.

“The Akron Education Association is grateful for the groundswell of community, statewide and national support,” said union president Patricia Shipe. “Teachers and parents share the same values and goals, safe and secure schools and high quality educators. We will continue to listen, engage, and speak up so that our voices are heard. Now the hard work continues.”

Board President Derrick Hall calls it a victory for the administration and a victory for teachers. 

“They are where they belong. They are back in school today, and they will be back in school tomorrow,” Hall said.

The union had argued that Akron teachers’ salaries weren’t competitive with other large urban districts, or even comparable ones in Summit County. But the primary sticking point was addressing violent, disruptive behavior in schools. Teachers fear for their safety and the students. 

According to the union, administrators wanted to draw a line that would have allowed too many outbursts to go unpunished.

The union represents 2,700 educators who were holding out for better pay.