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.

 

Just Posted

Most Highway 16 closures for avalanches in years after multiple dumps of snow

Highway 16 has had four closures between Terrace and Prince Rupert due to 35 mile avalanche area

Terrace RCMP arrest Kitimat man for drug trafficking

A police investigation has led to the arrest of a Kitimat man… Continue reading

Terrace Fire Department announces new training program, increased calls in year-end report

All firefighters in Terrace are expected to complete training by the end of April 2018.

UPDATE: Prince Rupert woman killed in logging truck collision

Empty logging truck west of Terrace struck moose before colliding with the eastbound SUV

David Edwardsen sentenced to eight years in jail

Sentencing result of 14 drug and firearms convictions

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

BCHL Today: Langley enjoys home ice while roller coast ride continues for Chilliwack Chiefs

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling from B.C. court

B.C. Supreme Court decided to end the practice of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons

Hedley withdraws from Junos, plans to discuss ‘how we have let some people down’

Hedley was dropped by their label last week after sexual misconduct accusations

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: B.C. takes home gold in two-man bobsleigh

Women’s hockey team beats Russia 5-0, Comox skier takes home best qualifying score

Calgary man dies in Mexico following sudden illness

Troy Black was with his wife, Lindsay, in Puerto Vallarta when he began vomiting blood on Thursday

Virtue and Moir break their own world record

Virtue and Moir break short dance record to sit first in ice dance at Olympics

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

Most Read