After nearly three hours of discussions, the New Bedford teachers union approved a new three-year contract on Thursday.

Teachers at New Bedford elementary, middle, and high schools attended the meeting held in the Keith Middle School auditorium.

New Bedford Educators Association President Lou St. John presented the teachers with the tentative agreement offered by the school department, which had been endorsed by the NBEA Board of Directors, and gave the union members a chance to ask questions.

According to St. John, the issue getting the most discussion was planning time at the elementary level. With the new contract, elementary teachers will be given two planning periods per day.

While no amount is known at this time, sources say New Bedford teachers will also receive a percentage raise with the new deal depending on their level.

St. John said the union approved a short-term contract during Thursday's meeting along with the three-year deal.

The initial contract will take the teachers up to June 30 later this year, with the main contract kicking in on July 1.