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Coast Mountains schools behind picket lines today

Caledonia Senior Secondary school teachers Leanne Korving, Kelly Axelson and Patsy Chant, left to right, walk the picket lines ouside the school for the morning of Sept. 2.  - MARGARET SPEIRS
Caledonia Senior Secondary school teachers Leanne Korving, Kelly Axelson and Patsy Chant, left to right, walk the picket lines ouside the school for the morning of Sept. 2.
— image credit: MARGARET SPEIRS

Coast Mountains School District schools may be technically open today but parents and guardians are asked not to send students, says the district superintendent.

Administrators may be in the schools but the prospect of schools being behind teacher picket lines means other unionized employees won't be at the facilities, says school superintendent Katherine McIntosh.

A notice sent out by McIntosh yesterday followed the failure by teachers and school districts to reach a contract settlement, continuing a strike/lock out which has gone on since June.

“The safety of our students is our highest priority. Should any students arrive at school while picket lines are in place, our school administrators will ensure that they are supervised until they can be safely returned to the care of a parent or guardian,” said McIntosh in the notice.

Negotiators for the teachers and school district met with mediator Vince Ready late last week but he declared an impasse, saying the two sides were still far apart on wages, benefits and class size and specialized instruction.

“Again, we are hopeful that this dispute can be resolved in the very near future. This is a frustrating and disappointing time for everyone involved,” said McIntosh.

In the meantime, a provincial government website through which parents and guardians can apply for $40 a day for students 12 and under is up and running.

The money comes from wages teachers would have been earning and amounts to $12 million a day.

It's meant to help parents and guardians finance daycare or other arrangements while the strike/lock out continues.

 

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