Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District offices (File photo)

The Santa Monica Unified School District and Santa Monica-Malibu Classroom Teachers Association have agreed to new terms in their collective bargaining agreement, which was set to expire Tuesday, June 30.

In recent weeks, educators throughout SMMUSD have been subject to pink slips as well as a pandemic, which has forced them to adapt their classroom curriculum to an online world in a matter of weeks.

As opposed to spending dozens of hours debating the specifics of health care, the school calendar and salary schedules, union members decided it was best to put contract negotiations on hold until next year so they can focus on the best ways to educate students in the coming months, SMMCTA president Sarah Braff said Friday.

“‘Interest Based’ bargaining is a time consuming process, so our members chose to invest that time improving distance and/or in-class learning,” Braff said. “We thank the district for their cooperation and are eager to get to work helping kids learn.”

SMMUSD’s board of education approved the contract with a unanimous vote during Thursday night’s meeting.

The language of the contract, which can be seen online at bit.ly/3dE7rH4, remains mostly the same and will be in effect until through June 30, 2021. However, the contract states, “if it is evident that (health care) rates will increase substantially for the 2021 benefits year, the parties agree to have the Joint Committee for Health & Welfare Benefits review the rates and make recommendations to be considered by the parties.”

brennon@smdp.com