WESTMINSTER - Members of the Bellows Falls Union High School Board of Directors signed off on a collective bargaining agreement Monday, becoming the fifth and final interested party to approve a deal with the local teachers' union.

The Rockingham, Westminster, Athens-Grafton and Windham Northeast Supervisory Union school boards had previously accepted the terms that permit step increases for educators not yet at the top tier (step 17), as well as hikes in salary every year. The teachers' union, Windham Northeast Education Association (WNEA), had already given the nod to the contract, which was finalized with the BFUHS board's approval.

WNESU School Superintendent Chris Kibbe has told the Reformer that, in addition to step increases, the agreement includes 1 percent salary hikes in the first year for educators at step 17, 1.5 percent jumps for all teachers the second year and another 1 percent increase across the board the third year.

Rockingham School Board Chairman James "Jiggs" McAuliffe said the WNESU's negotiating group reached an agreement about three weeks ago and the teachers' union voted to ratify it. He previously mentioned the contract period will run retroactively from July 1, 2013, through the conclusion of the 2016 school year. McAuliffe also told the Reformer the previous teachers' contract did not include step increases.

The BFUHS Board also approved a collective bargaining agreement regarding the supervisory union's support staff (which includes all school employees that are not teachers), contingent on the contract's approval by the support staff's union. McAuliffe told the Reformer the support staff collective bargaining agreement also includes step and salary increases. He also said the Athens-Grafton School Board is not involved with the support staff contract.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com; or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. Follow Domenic on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.