News » Whistler

Sea to Sky teachers not withdrawing from extracurricular activites

Report cards may be issues soon



Sea to Sky teachers will not withdraw from extracurricular activities to protest the province's adoption of Bill 22, which makes it illegal for teachers to withdraw services.

Teacher associations in about a dozen school districts voted independently to withdraw participation in extra-curricular voluntary activities after the bill was passed.

But Beth Miller, the Howe Sound Teachers' Association president, said her association is not one of the dozen taking that action.

"We are recommending teachers in the district who want to volunteer give their time outside the school system to other volunteer organizations in the community," said Miller.

The province today (Wednesday March 28) appointed a mediator in the bitter labour dispute - Charles Jago.

A former president of the University of Northern B.C he was also the author of a 2006 report on the B.C. public education system, a former commissioner on the Nechako Environmental Enhancement Fund, past-chair of the Fraser Basin Council and co-chair of the Premier's Consultation on Northern British Columbia Cancer Care.

He has also donated about $1,000 to the Liberal Party though golf tournaments according to the CBC.

He has no direct experience as a mediator in labour disputes. Jago will be paid $2,000 a day.

It has been business mostly as usual this week at schools in the Sea to Sky corridor since students returned from spring break and things are expected to stay that way until at least the middle of next month.

During spring break, the provincial government legislated an end to strike action being taken by teachers leading up to the start of the two-week break from school in the Sea to Sky district.

It is not clear if parents will be getting report cards in the coming days on past work. The Vancouver Sun reports that the government's bargaining body, The B.C. Public School Employers' Association (BCPSEA), has directed teachers to prepare the report cards and get them to parents - whether this will be on work from the start of the school year will have to be determined by each district and the local teacher's union.

Teachers had their annual general meeting during spring break and out of that meeting the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) announced a "bold" plan to resist Bill 22.

Susan Lambert, president of the 41,000-member teacher's union, said one of the aspects of the plan is to work to rule, as was the case through the first six months of this school year. The BCTF plans to hold a vote on April 17 and 18 to determine if teachers support that idea and the plan in general.

Bill 22 forced the teachers and their employer to operate under the terms of the previously expired contract until the end of this school year and it also paved the way for the mediator to enter into the contract discussion.

The most significant issues in the dispute are:

¥Manner and consequences of class size and composition.

¥Local-provincial split of bargaining issues.

¥Effective feedback and evaluation of teachers to promote improvements.

¥Alignment of professional development with teaching needs.

¥Scheduling and selection of teachers suited to student needs.

¥Pay and conditions - contract proposals or agreements cannot impose net additional costs on the province.

Secondary schools must also focus on entering all Grade 12 marks in the normal manner so that post secondary applications won't be delayed.