Blue Ridge Schools sides meet, union says little progress


 FARMER CITY — The Blue Ridge Federation of Teachers met Monday night with a federal mediator and representatives of the Blue Ridge School Board.  The union reports there was little progress.

“We are miles apart on the core issues that will help us recruit and retain excellent staff members, and the Board hasn’t offered the movement that would be acceptable to our members,” said Federation President Don Anton. “Both sides made movement tonight, but we are still far apart on the issues of salary and healthcare,” he said.

Anton said the union began the public posting process yesterday, and its latest proposal will be available next week.  The earliest possible date for a potential strike would be October 21.

“There still is time to avoid this,” Anton said.  “We hope the board understands that we want to reach an agreement, but the current terms they have offered will not solve the problems created by years and years of contracts that lagged behind those of other area schools.” 

Anton said staff turnover was bad for students.

“We want students who have cooks, secretaries, custodians, drivers, nurses, aides, and teachers who can afford to serve our communities for many years,” he said.  “Such a stable workforce enables students to feel a stronger connection to their school.” 

The next session with the mediator is scheduled for October 9.