Blue Ridge school employees officially have a three-year contract. The school board voted unanimously Oct. 30 to ratify the agreement, which was reached at a negotiating session last week.

Members of the Blue Ridge Federation of Teachers approved the contract on Oct. 27.

Retroactive to July 1, the agreement includes raises of 2.75 percent plus applicable step increases for each year of the contract. The district will also contribute $2,500 annually to health savings accounts, up from $1,900.

Raises and changes to the salary schedule boost the starting teacher salary to $37,026.

Sick leave will increase from 14 days per year to between 14 and 21 days per year depending on years of service. Other items addressed in the new contract included extended use of personal days, terms for use of short-term substitutes, and elimination of fair-share requirements,” said a statement released by Superintendent Susan Wilson on Oct. 31.

After ratifying the contract, the school board approved salaries for non-union personnel. Principals and the district curriculum coordinator will receive 3 percent raises. Other department heads and non-union personnel will receive raises of 5.75 percent, which is comparable to those received by employees under the new union contract. Non-union personnel do not receive step increases.

Wilson is completing the last year of a 5-year contract, which calls for a 3 percent increase for this year.