The Pottstown school board and teachers' union have agreed to a two-year contract, ending negotiations that began nearly two years ago.

Under the contract approved Thursday, teachers will receive no raises for the 2010-11 school year. In 2011-12, they will receive a 1 percent increase. Teachers' contributions toward their health insurance will increase 80 percent, said Stephen Kalis, the school board's solicitor.

Beth Yoder, president of the Federation of Pottstown Teachers, said the contract would amount to a net pay cut for most teachers.

"Obviously, we're not thrilled with it, but we do understand it's a really bad time right now for everybody, especially for people in Pottstown," Yoder said. "People had to make concessions."

The starting salary for Pottstown teachers is $43,000, Yoder said.

Under the contract, teachers who use the core health benefit plan would pay $90 per paycheck toward health insurance, up from $50, Yoder said.

Kalis said: "We're pleased we were able to come to terms at least for the 2011-12 school year, and I know the parties worked very hard."

The Pottstown School District and teachers typically sign four-year contracts, but Kalis said that was impossible this time given budget uncertainties.