On Tuesday night, the eve of the first day of school, a tentative contract agreement was reached by the negotiating teams of the Riverside Elementary School District 96 Board of Education and the teachers’ union. The agreement was reached shortly after 8 p.m. at the conclusion of a negotiating session that lasted a little more than four hours.

The agreement was announced Wednesday morning in a two-sentence press release issued by the district. Details of the agreement will not be released until the contract is ratified by the union, the Riverside Education Council (REC), and the board. The previous contract expired on June 30.

Teachers and other members of the REC will learn the details of the contract at a union meeting on Sept. 1. Union members are scheduled to vote on the contract on Sept. 4.

If the teachers ratify the contract, the school board will vote on the contract at the Sept. 15 school board meeting, Co-Interim Superintendent Patrick Patt said Wednesday morning.

Patt has participated in the negotiations since May. Negotiations appear to have progressed smoothly, surprising some.

“It was a pleasant experience,” Patt said “It was very collaborative.”

The board’s negotiating team consisted of Rich Regan, Rachel Marrello and Shari Klyber. The board was assisted by its lawyer Shelli Anderson. On Tuesday night, Central School Principal Pete Gatz also was part of the board’s negotiating team.

Gatz has been participating periodically in the negotiations, because contract language regarding teacher duties and building management have been major issues in the bargaining.

“Some of the language issues relate to things that would go on in the building,” Patt said.

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