Robin Wilson

Terrace public school students back in the classroom Monday

Teachers working to get classrooms ready after ratifying six-year deal

Terrace teachers will be working long hours over the weekend to ready classrooms so students can finally take to their desks Monday, three weeks into the scheduled school year.

After a bitter months-long battle, a new six-year collective agreement was hashed out between the province and its teachers’ union thanks to the help of mediator Vince Ready early last week.

B.C. teachers voted 86 per cent in favour of the contract Sept. 18 and school boards voted unanimously to ratify it Friday, allowing for a Monday start to the school year.

The agreement gives teachers a 7.25 per cent raise over six years, a $105 million fund to cover retroactive grievances, and $400 million to go towards hiring new teachers and specialists. The government also withdrew the controversial Article E80, which the union says was an attempt by the government to bargain around earlier Supreme Court decisions that reinforced teachers’ rights to bargain class size and composition issues.

Coast Mountains School District (CMSD) board chair Art Erasmus said he is “totally pleased” that school was able to start this week, adding that frustrations were mounting across the district as the school year entered its third week without classes.

“And then all of the sudden the clouds raised and everything got done and there was a tentative agreement. It was highly unpredictable as to when that would happen. People were getting pretty frustrated,” he said.

While teachers are rushing to get classrooms ready in time, Erasmus said the major cleaning of the schools had been done by support staff workers before picket lines went up.

“There are some little maintenance projects that couldn’t get done when the pickets were there … those will have to be done when school is already in session but there’s nothing to preclude kids from being in classes,” he said.

And news that the school year won’t be extended to make up for lost time is fine by him.

Extending the school year would’ve “just added another wrinkle,” he said.

“We have kids who go on holidays with their parents for extended periods, kids that are sick for extended periods and we don’t have an extended school for those reasons, so I’m convinced that the necessary curriculum can and will be covered in the time that’s available,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in favour of [extending the school year] because it would just add another issue to argue over. We had long discussions when we went from a one-week to a two-week spring break … It’s a long discussion and I don’t think we need any long discussions for the next little while.”

The province is set to release details surrounding how strike savings will be passed onto districts this week, and parents should expect a cheque from the province’s $40 a day for students under 12 promise in their mailboxes in the coming months. Erasmus said some school districts and the school trustees’ association would have liked that $40 a day to have been kept in the education system.

But the fact that the collective agreement will be funded by the ministry is “good news,” he said, and “there are some sums of money in the agreement that will add to the amount of money available to classroom and composition, so there’s more money coming into the system. Where that’s coming from, they haven’t told us, whether that’s part of the savings or not, they haven’t told us that.”

The CMSD board has its first meeting of the year this Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m.




Just Posted

Police encourage reporting of suspicious events following reports involving children

Terrace RCMP are asking the public to report any suspicious adult interactions… Continue reading

Soup kitchen sees “groundswell of community support”

Donations toward looming tax bill push non-profit back in the black

College buys a yurt to boost student success

Round tent-like structure part of college instructional shift

Terrace husband and wife honoured for saving each other’s lives

BC Ambulance presented each a Vital Link Award for separate incidents of CPR

Council supports lobby for fair share of cannabis tax revenue

The City of Terrace is throwing its support behind a West Kelowna… Continue reading

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Movie filmed in Castlegar B.C. opens Friday

Hollow in the Land starring Dianna Agron will be playing in select cinemas.

Most Read