Teachers overwhelmingly voted in June 2005 to reject a proposed contract that offered no raise and said that in the 2007-2008 academic year, the district would pay for health insurance coverage up to the highest rate that was offered the previous year.

Teachers wanting coverage above that amount would have had to pay out of their own pocket, choose an insurance plan that costs less, or negotiate a higher maximum contribution.

Both sides acknowledged then that they delayed the inevitable of having to deal with rising health costs, but said settling the contract will give them more time to research cost-saving alternatives, officials said.

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