Back to normal for schools this fall

Teachers, trustees approve of a new collective agreement

By Anna Killen

BOTH THE Coast Mountains School District and local teachers’ union representatives are looking forward to a normal start to the school year after the province’s school boards voted July 4 to ratify a deal reached with the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF)

“We’re hoping for a nice, calm, ordinary school year,” said school board chair Art Erasmus.

The BCTF approved the deal June 29, after union executives reluctantly recommended the teachers vote in favour.

“A lot of people felt in betwixt and in between,” said Cathy Lambright, head of the Terrace District Teachers’ Union, of accepting the agreement, which did not include wage increases.

“We did succeed in getting the government to get its concession demands off the table,” she said. “But the agreement arrived at did absolutely nothing in terms of class size and composition. It left all of those unresolved.”

The agreement did include minor improvements in provincial benefits, but some portions of the local benefits package were slightly worse, said Lambright. Coverage for eyeglasses went down, and the deductible for teachers here was increased, she said.

The local benefits package is just one factor that will come into play when the teachers start negotiations again next year.

The deal reached is a two-year agreement that runs retroactively to June 30, 2011 and expires on June 30, 2013 meaning its back to the table next spring.

Both Erasmus and Lambright acknowledged that next year’s provincial election in May could have a significant effect on negotiations.

“Issues that weren’t resolved this time are expected to be canvassed again,” said Erasmus. “There’s going to be a provincial election right before negotiations.”

“I don’t think the NDP can solve all of our problems,” said Lambright, noting the TDTU is not aligned with any political party. “But many teachers are discouraged with this government’s approach to education.”

But for now, parents and students can rest easy knowing that, at least in September, both sides are ready for business as usual.

“No one likes to start a school year like we did last year,” said Lambright. “It’s hard for teachers to give up extracurriculars, it’s not something teachers take lightly. It’s a positive experience for the students, teachers and their parents.”

“It was a long, difficult year,” she said. “It’s nice to start the school year in school.”

Teachers began the school year last September by refusing a number of duties, including report card preparation and supervising students on school grounds before and after class and during recess.

Teachers were also told not to take part in extracurricular athletic and cultural activities.

That escalated into a three-day strike this spring and the passage of back to work legislation by the provincial government.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

What is the future of transportation in Terrace?

Active transportation, transit, road networks to play a big part in the coming years

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Terrace firefighters heading south to help battle wildfires in Oregon

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read