ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Teachers of the Rochester City School District are voting on a proposed budget on Tuesday. Later in the evening, the board of education will vote to approve it or not.

After nearly a year of negotiations, a tentative agreement has been reached that would raise teacher salaries by 3.8%. Additionally, it includes retention bonuses of up to $1,500 a year.

This comes at a time when the district has been facing major staffing shortages from the pandemic.

The contract would run three years in duration but was already set to commence six months ago.

President of the Rochester Teacher Union Adam Urbanski said the proposal is competitive and predicts an ‘overwhelming majority’ of teachers and board members will approve.

“We’re hearing from teachers overwhelmingly, that they recognize the contract is indeed good for students and fair to teachers. There is some misinformation about the contract, but we have posted on our website all the accurate information along with frequently asked questions,” he said.

However, sixth-grade teacher Audrey Sowell said she would like to see more done.

“I would like to see the pay comparable to what’s going on in surrounding districts so that we can attract top-quality staff,” said Sowell.

She said there should be more laid out to support students’ emotional needs, and relieve teachers of the added work they’re providing to handle traumas.

“We’ve been taking professional development on social-emotional support, to try to support our kids but we’re talking about kids who’ve had trauma on top of trauma,” she said.

Superintendent Carmine Peluso released the following statement to News 8:

Teachers are the backbone of this District, and I am extremely proud to have developed a collaborative agreement that ensures high-quality instruction through greater collaboration and additional professional learning opportunities. This negotiation process provided the forum for extensive conversations with RTA leadership that outlined our shared vision and priorities for the future of this District. I am confident that when this agreement is finalized, it will pave the way for a strong relationship moving forward.