After the latest meeting between the Blue Ridge Federation and the Blue Ridge Board of Education, both sides say progress was made, however, no deal has been reached as of yet.
The negotiations are an ongoing process to reach a new collective bargaining agreement between the teachers union and the district, negotiations that go back to February.
Agreements were reached on student evaluation surveys and board paid retirement.
President of the Blue Ridge Federation, Don Anton says quote - "but we are still far apart on the issues of salary and health insurance."
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% in 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.
Superintendent of Blue Ridge Schools, Susan Wilson, in a release says quote - "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."
The two sides will meet again on October 21.