MIAMI (CBSMiami) –  More than 13,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, clericals  and security monitors voted “yes” to ratify their contracts and get a pay raise Wednesday night.

It’s the largest salary gain in years and includes more money for merit based increases and healthcare costs.

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The final count showed 13,439 (81.2%)  voted “yes” while 3,102 (18.8%) voted “no.”

The teachers are part of the union, United Teachers of Dade, who work to advance the cause of public education.

 “We view this contract as a solid starting point for the future.  It is not what our members deserve after several years of sacrifice and doing more with less, but it represents a beginning and a place we can build from.  The people we represent do the hard work every day on behalf of families and children as we educate Miami . They help children succeed and build the future of our great city and they deserve so much more.  The vote tonight shows that they share in my optimism and desire to do what is best for our schools,” said UTD President Fedrick Ingram.

A tentative agreement for a new labor contract with Miami-Dade County Public Schools was reached October 14th.

According to the teachers’ union, the deal includes $70 million dollars in pay hikes or a 6.5-percent average raise. It also includes healthcare and other modifications.

“This is an important step in the right direction,” Ingram told CBS4 on October 14th. “Miami’s teachers and support staff sacrifice so much. According to the teachers’ union, it’s a $70 million dollar deal with a 6.5 percent average raise.

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“For the first time in five years people will actually realize and see something positive on their paycheck for a change and that’s important,” said Antonio White, who teaches business technology education at Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy and sits on the executive board of UTD.

Most teachers CBS4 News talked to say it’s a step in the right direction, though some are disappointed it’s not the $2,500 raise Governor Rick Scott promised earlier in the year.

“He promised $2,500 to every teacher but didn’t send the resources to do that,” said White.

The tentative agreement, which still must be approved by the UTD members, gives classroom teachers a combination of recurring salary raises, pay supplements, and Race To The Top funds. While the combination varies, every teacher is assured to receive a package greater than the current pay step scale, which is not guaranteed but must be agreed to year by year.

“The minimum for beginning teacher will be approximately $1,300 but what we were able to ensure is everybody is able to get a full step at the bare minimum and at least close to that $2,500 expectation that has been built up across the state,” said White.

The professionals who support teachers, Education Support Personnel (ESPs), office clerical staff and security monitors will also see salary improvements and a pay supplement claimed UTD.

The ratification vote count will begin at 3:00 pm Wednesday.

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The certification and final tally of Yes and No votes is expected to be completed sometime between 8:00 and 10:00  o’clock Wednesday night.