Monthly Archives: May 2014

Updates from BCCPAC Conference and AGM

http://ckpg.com/bc-teachers-dispute-terry-berting-warns-of-involvement-video

http://www.bccpac.bc.ca/news-blog/frustrated-parents-quiz-education-minister-about-labour-dispute

Parents may have different views about the labour feud that’s hurting B.C. public schools, but those attending the BCCPAC conference appeared united Friday in their anger and frustration.

They’re fed up, BCCPAC president Terry Berting told the media, adding that his group is considering what action it might take to pressure the parties to reach a negotiated settlement.

Parents want to take the high road but they’re troubled by the ongoing bitterness between government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), The Canadian Press quoted him as saying.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender spoke to conference delegates Friday morning and was later peppered with questions, starting with this one: “How does class size not matter?”

Parents also wanted to know what his government is doing to help with complex classes, how it will protect schools threatened with permanent closure, whether the labour dispute will upset graduation activities and final exams and whether negotiations will continue throughout the summer.

There were no surprises in his answers: Class size is important up to a point, but not as important as class composition and teacher quality, given limited tax dollars, he said. Government has provided additional dollars to help with class composition challenges but it’s an issue that needs more attention, after a contract is signed, he added.

Full text – DPAC presentation to board on May 27th

We may not have a surplus of budget, but we certainly have a surplus of issues. District first, and then on to the province.

District budget. I would like to thank Allan Reed and Darleen Patterson for finding the time to answer some of DPAC’s budget questions. I can’t say that DPAC is thrilled about the budget, and the financial constraints that have gone into this budget. We’re also concerned over seeing a structural deficit appear in the budget again. We would like to see more attention paid to making it more understandable – there is confusion caused by the budgetary hokey pokey of moving items from one area to another – but we also respect time constraints.

There really ought to be more public questions and public information available about the budget, especially given the similarity between the size of this budget and the city budget – where there is much more discourse. Perhaps if there was more school-level budget information provided, that would be of assistance – that’s where it really seems to matter to people.

Which brings us to the Schedule of Fees and Deposits, as published in this board agenda package. As a reminder, having that package available in advance is highly preferable.

As noted, according to the school act, “A board must publish a schedule of the fees to be charged and deposits required and must make the schedule available to students and to children registered under section 13 and to the parents of those students and children before the beginning of the school year.”

Further on in the Act, if you charge fees, then you must have policies and procedures to facilitate participation by students who would otherwise be excluded from the course, class or program because of financial hardship.

You have a financial hardship policy, which states that that access to goods and services, as well as to co-curricular programs and opportunities (for example, field trips) is available to all students, and no student is to be denied that access because of financial hardship. It also states that “All communication with students and/or parents regarding fees and deposits must include a statement that explains that fees will not be a barrier to student participation in school activities.”

Please ensure that all communications – including the communication in this agenda package – includes that the information that fees will not be a barrier for students. This information in this document is not good enough.

On to provincial matters.

Our DPAC position has been to have no public opinion on bargaining, other than expressing a desire that it be fair and negotiated. That is as it relates to wages and benefits. At this point, we now have class size and composition being bargained as well, which is fair game for parent comment. The BCPSEA website, and now DPAC website, has both BCTF and government proposals publicly available, and we have read them with interest. The BCTF proposal seems preferable when it comes to learning specialist staffing levels, although I have to express some concern over where some of these people will be found – I’m not aware of vast numbers of unemployed speech language pathologists, for example. The financial impact of the BCTF proposals for class size are concerning – especially given the province’s downloading of costs – as it would require quite a lot of money, in order for our district to be able to fit in the additional classrooms and schools that would be required. We would also require policy on how to remove students from schools, when they no longer fit. When it comes to class composition issues, the BCPSEA proposal is far too flexible and fuzzy, and the BCTF proposal is far too inflexible. Both suck.

Which brings me to a very important point – the level of public discourse, and especially the level of public discourse used in front of our children. As a parent, when I see this level of discourse happening in my house, I use my mom voice and say: “I don’t care who started it, I want you both to go to your rooms and not come out until you can talk nicely to each other. Stop scaring the other kids by fighting.” We do not want our kids to be told that teachers are in it only for the money. We do not want our kids told that Christy Clark is making teachers eat lunch outside. We do not want to hear name calling, accusations of attempting to ruin public education, accusations of ruining the economy, or thoughtless decision making. We want this conducted rationally, professionally, and kept away from the kids.

I believe that as a district, we can model some of this to the province, as a whole. We can advocate for our children, for public education, with both passion and respect for all.

Thank you, for your time.

Prince George District Struck Again on Tuesday, June 3rd

The BC Teacher’s Federation has announced rotating strikes will continue next week.

They will be held on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, throughout the province. In SD57, Prince George, the strike will take place Tuesday, June 3rd.

http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/documents/teacher%20bargaining/Bargaining%20Bulletin/00-BCTF%20Strike%20Notice%20Schedule%20May%2028%202014.pdf

Continue reading Prince George District Struck Again on Tuesday, June 3rd

School District Schedule of Fees and Deposits

As presented at the school board meeting: 2014 may 27 Schedule of fees and deposits

District financial hardship policy, 5101: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/Policy_Manual/Policies/5101.pdf

As part of the DPAC presentation to the board, May 27th:

…Which brings us to the Schedule of Fees and Deposits, as published in this board agenda package. As a reminder, having that package available in advance is highly preferable.

As noted, according to the school act, “A board must publish a schedule of the fees to be charged and deposits required and must make the schedule available to students and to children registered under section 13 and to the parents of those students and children before the beginning of the school year.”

Further on in the Act, if you charge fees, then you must have policies and procedures to facilitate participation by students who would otherwise be excluded from the course, class or program because of financial hardship.

You have a financial hardship policy, which states that that access to goods and services, as well as to co-curricular programs and opportunities (which includes field trips) is available to all students, and no student is to be denied that access because of financial hardship. It also states that “All communication with students and/or parents regarding fees and deposits must include a statement that explains that fees will not be a barrier to student participation in school activities.”

Please ensure that all communications – including the communication in this agenda package – includes that the information that fees will not be a barrier for students. This information in this document is not good enough.

 

A motion was made to recommend to Senior Admin that a reference to policy 5101 be put into the statement of fees and deposits.  Recommendation was passed.

Proposed revisions to Policy 1110 Communications

2014.05.26 Proposed Revisions to Policy 1110 Communications

On  April 29, 2014, the Board of Education approved proposed revisions to Policy 1110 for distribution to reference groups for input.  A copy of the policy, with the proposed revisions is attached.
 
If you or your organization has any comments, concerns or suggestions about these proposed revisions, please forward them in writing to:

 

Wendy De Marsh, Executive Assistant
School District No. 57 (Prince George)
2100 Ferry Avenue
Prince George, BC   V2L 4R5

 

or e-mail:      wdemarsh@sd57.bc.ca

 

or fax:         Wendy De Marsh at (250) 561-6820 or 561-6801

Draft of District Achievement Contract

From SD57 website: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/index.php?id=4060

District Achievement Contract

Please click on this link to view the 2014 – 2017 DRAFT District Achievement Contract.

The District Achievement Contract is a public statement of commitment by the Board of Education to work towards success for each student in School District No. 57. The Ministry of Education stipulates that each Achievement Contract cover a period of 3 years, however, we are required to submit a new Achievement Contract every year.

While the Ministry of Education outlines what must be included in an Achievement Contract, this year’s contact looks different in layout than previous years. We hope that you will find it more reader-friendly as we have embedded data throughout the document rather than attaching it in an appendix.

In reading the document, you will discover that we have not abandoned the work in our ongoing goals and objectives as stated in previous District Achievement Contracts. This includes objectives for reading, numeracy and Aboriginal learning.

Of note regarding new additions this year is the objective that meets the ministerial requirement for a focus on Skills and Technical Training.

Feedback on the DRAFT District Achivement Contract can be sent to dac@sd57.bc.ca

Thank you for taking the time to read, and perhaps comment, on this draft document.

More updates on job action / strike / lockout

Prince George Teacher Rally, Thursday May 29 at 4PM : FAIR DEAL RALLY May 2014 2

http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/columnists/geoff-johnson-confusion-chaos-reign-in-teacher-dispute-1.1075877

It has been said that the first casualty of war is truth, but in the playground spat between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Liberal government, the first casualties seem to be the common sense, dignity and decorum of public education.

Letter from Ministry of Education, sent to school districts to distribute to parents: http://www.sd57.bc.ca/fileadmin/cao.sd57.bc.ca/District_Info/26May14MOEInfo.pdf

http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/blogs/union-tells-teachers-to-stop-volunteering-cites-liability-concerns-1.1076148

The employers’ association and the union are scheduled to argue the legality of the lockout before the Labour Relations Board on Thursday.

Interesting blog post from a MLA: http://www.andrewweavermla.ca/2014/05/26/path-bc-public-education/

BCTF Cheat Sheet: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-teachers-dispute-cheat-sheet-1.1835717

Editorial from Times Colonist – Find better way to negotiate

http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-find-better-way-to-negotiate-1.1071958

“If the government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation are putting the welfare of students first, we don’t see the evidence. Despite all the rhetoric about finding a new approach, bargaining has degenerated into the familiar tooth-and-nail nastiness that has characterized contract talks for most of the past 30 years.

It’s tiresome. It’s not good for education. It needs to change.

“Schools are not factories,” former deputy education minister Don Wright wrote in 2003 after being called back into service to examine teacher bargaining. “There are all kinds of intangible factors that make for a successful school. This is all put at risk when labour conflict is brought into the school.”

Wright, a Harvard PhD and an expert highly regarded by educators for his common sense, said what everybody knew: The teacher bargaining model simply did not work, never had and was serving nobody well.

[snipped]

Which brings us to the shameful situation where the victims of all the game-playing and charades are children and their parents, not a company’s bottom line.

Shameful, because the number of families headed by single parents or where both parents work has increased significantly. If teachers strike, parents will have to stay home and lose income, or live with the anxiety that their children might not be adequately looked after.”

[snipped]

 

© Copyright Times Colonist

Read entire editorial here: http://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-find-better-way-to-negotiate-1.1071958

More clarification about what Lockout actually means

http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/documents/teacher%20bargaining/Bargaining%20Bulletin/00-MR-Lockout%20Guidelines%20Q%20and%20A%20Extracurricular%20May%2023%202014%20.pdf

1. Does the current BCPSEA partial lockout prevent teachers from continuing their involvement with student extracurricular programs or other volunteer activities?

NO. Teachers are welcome to continue their involvement with any extracurricular or volunteer activities of their choice. Nothing in the lockout order prevents any continued or new involvement with such activities.

2. Does it matter whether or not the extracurricular activities take place during the school day (e.g., at lunch), within 45 minutes of the start or end of the school day, or later in the day (e.g., in the late afternoon or evening)?
NO. Teachers are welcome to continue their involvement with all extracurricular and other
volunteer activities regardless of the time of the day.

Continue reading More clarification about what Lockout actually means

Reminder – Proxy Voting for BCCPAC

Is your PAC a member of BCCPAC? If you are, and if you’re not sending a delegate to the BCCPAC AGM, DPAC will act as your proxy in order to cast your vote. In exchange, DPAC will pay your PAC 50% of the BCCPAC registration of $75.

DPAC provides this funding to give our school district, and the North, a larger voice at the  BCCPAC AGM.

DPAC is sending three delegates to the AGM, and we suggest putting the names of Gillian Burnett, Donna Stephan, and/or Leanne Harasym on our form.

Your PAC can give specific voting instructions, or there was also a DPAC meeting held to discuss how our delegates should be casting their votes – you don’t need to specify how you would like your vote cast, if you don’t have a particular opinion on a topic.

Once you have filled out the proxy formit will need to be sent to both BCCPAC and DPAC. The form asks you to send it to BCCPAC only, but it isvery important that DPAC knows in order to send you a cheque, and make sure that your form was actually received and processed by BCCPAC. Please send to DPAC by May 27th, in order to ensure that it gets taken to the AGM. 

Please either scan/email the form to info@bccpac.bc.ca and info@sd57dpac.ca, or fax it to 604-687-4488 and (250) 561-6801 (attention DPAC mailbox).

This document is the proxy form:

Voting Instructions and Proxy Form

Continue reading Reminder – Proxy Voting for BCCPAC