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Blue Ridge board, teachers reach tentative pact; avoid Farmer City strike
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Blue Ridge board, teachers reach tentative pact; avoid Farmer City strike

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Blue Ridge

FARMER CITY — Teachers and staff in the Farmer City-based Blue Ridge School District have reached a tentative agreement, avoiding a strike.

Word came early Tuesday after a negotiating session with a federal mediator.

"The Blue Ridge Federation of Teachers and Blue Ridge Board of Education have come to a tentative agreement on a 3-year contract," according to a joint statement issued early Tuesday. "The BRFT will meet on Sunday to vote on ratification. Details on the agreement will be released after that time."

Last week, the union filed a 10-day intent-to-strike notice with the Illinois Labor Relations Board.

A federal mediator has worked with both sides through three different meetings and both sides reported progress had been made. The two sides were apart on salary and health insurance. The main disagreement on health insurance was over how much the school district should fund employees’ health savings accounts, meant to cover deductibles in their insurance plans.

During the federally mediated sessions, both sides were kept in separate rooms with the mediator facilitating the proposals between the two sides.

The union includes 118 staff members and teachers at the district which includes the communities of Farmer City, Mansfield and Bellflower.

Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow

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