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BCPSEA prepares for contract talks with teachers

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Janyk elected to second term on board

Whistler school trustee, Andrée Janyk, has been elected to serve a second term as a director on the board of the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association.

Janyk was among seven trustee representatives from a total of 59 school districts elected to the board at the BCPSEA annual general meeting held late last month.

Her position will give the Howe Sound School Board a direct line to the provincial bargaining table in the coming negotiations with the B.C. Teachers Federation for a new collective agreement.

The teachers’ contract expires in June this year.

Janyk said she stood for a director position for second time because she feels having a local representative on the provincial board "brings expertise and a breadth of knowledge to the discussion of issues that are pertinent and relevant to the Howe Sound School District."

She said she may end up being one of the trustees at the bargaining table, if her work commitments permit the time.

The looming talks were the main topic at the recent BCPSEA AGM, with a series of workshops held to examine issues expected to be at the forefront of collective bargaining. Janyk said, however, she cannot divulge what came out of those workshops. The two obvious issues widely expected to dominate talks are teacher salaries and class sizes.

Already the BCTF and the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Council’s have come out posturing on these issues.

"Those will be the two big issues," noted Janyk. "I think the key thing is the employers’ association gets direction from the government as to the public policy and the we negotiate with the BCTF in that regard," she said. "However, public policy and the direction of the government can always change."

The coming provincial election and a possible change of government, may, for example, influence talks. "It presents us with a lot of interesting questions," said Janyk. "The timing of the provincial election with a lot of the public union bargaining is definitely an interesting issue and, at the moment, there are a lot of questions and a lot of hypothesizing."

The BCPSEA will also be holding a teacher bargaining conference slated for Feb. 23-24. The conference is open to a trustee and administrative representative from all school districts in the province. Janyk said she is unable to attend this event. The Howe Sound School Board will be deciding at their February monthly meeting who will act as Janyk’s alternate in this role. Last year the position fell to Whistler trustee Alix Nicoll.

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