Coast Mountains school board chair Art Erasmus speaks at the March 14 school board meeting.

Terrace school district wants to use money saved during teachers’ strike

The Coast Mountains School District did not pay teachers $375,000

The Coast Mountains school board is asking the provincial government for permission to keep money saved during last weeks’ teacher strike.

At a school board meeting last night secretary treasurer Alanna Cameron reported the district has saved $375,00 from not paying teachers’ wages during the three-day strike.

Board chair Art Erasmus said using the money to offset year-long costs stemming from teacher job action is a ‘no brainer.’

He explain that additional money has been spent paying the mileage of district staff to drive to schools multiple times each day to perform supervision duties.

Since September, as a part of job action, teachers in the province have been refusing to perform administrative tasks and supervision at schools.

As a result, supervision has been performed by principals, vice principals and district staff, a duty that Erasmus said has put additional pressure on the district as employees try to juggle their regular job duties around supervision time.

Terrace and District Teachers’ Union president Karen Andrews said should the board be granted its request to keep the money, it should use it to provide more support to special needs students.

I think it would be a sign of recognition that there needs to be more money put into student services,” Andrews said, noting this issue as a main reason for the province-wide teachers strike in the first place.

She said the money would easily provide the salaries for the equivalent of four more teachers or support workers in the district.

Teachers withdrew services because we want the government to recognize they need to put some funding in place to support our special needs students,” Andrews said.

The three-day strike was a result of teachers’ disapproval of Bill 22 which, when passed, will stop all job action while an appointed mediator looks to end an ongoing contract dispute between teachers and the province.