Progress reported during Wednesday Blue Ridge Schools contract talks

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FARMER CITY — Blue Ridge School District issued the following statement after a negotiation session held Wednesday with the teachers' union:

"Blue Ridge Federation of Teachers and the Blue Ridge Board of Education met tonight with the federal mediator to continue negotiations. At tonight's session, agreements were reached on paid retirement and teacher evaluations. Progress was made as both sides made offers on salary and health insurance. Our next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21 with the federal mediator. The Board remains committed to negotiating a fair contract with the Union that hears their concerns and those of the community, while also weighing the financial well-being of the district for years to come."

Blue Ridge Federation of Teachers released this statement:
The Blue Ridge Federation negotiations team met with the school Board tonight and made some progress.
“We reached tentative agreements on student evaluation surveys and board paid retirement, but we are still far apart on the issues of salary and health insurance,” said Federation President Don Anton.  “We have a meeting scheduled with the Board again on the 21st.”
The union made two moves on salary.  The Board moved once, but did not respond to the Union’s latest proposal. 
The union’s initial movement was from a one year contract with a 4.25% increase to a three-year deal with raises of 4% the first two years and 4.25% the last year.  The Board countered with raises of 2.5% the first year and 2.25% the last two years.
The union returned with a counter proposal of a three year deal with raises of 3.9% the first year, 3.95% the second year, and 4.15% in the final year.
“We were hoping to keep discussions moving tonight,” said Anton.   “We were making headway, and then the Board decided to end the session.”
The Union represents 110 members, including drivers, cooks, custodians, secretaries, nurses, library clerks, and teachers.  They plan to file a ten-day intent to strike notice tomorrow and will strike on October 28th if an agreement isn’t reached."