KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education has approved a new contract for unionized teachers in the district.

Thursday night, members voted unanimously to approve the contract with the Kalamazoo Education Association, which includes teachers, behavioral specialists and ancillary staff members.

Under the contract, KEA members receive a 6.5% increase in base pay, a 4% increase on Schedule B — a step on the salary schedule — and a 1% off schedule payment.

They also receive a signing bonus of $250, and their Health Savings Account contributions are raised to the 80% limit.

The overall cost of the new contract is within the district’s budget.

“You don’t want to do anything that can’t be sustained,” said KPS Board of Education Trustee Patti Sholler-Barber. “We all know districts, when times got tough, had to ask their teachers to take cuts, to regress. You don’t want to do that at all. As Assistant Superintendent Dorsey-Smith said, this is the heartbeat … of KPS.”

“We look forward to continuing the discussion and the work required to ensure Kalamazoo Public Schools is a destination district not just for our students and families, but also for our employees,” KEA President Heather Reid told News 8 in a statement.

The contract has a term of one year.