Monthly Archives: May 2014

Background information: the proposals being discussed with teacher bargaining

http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/bc-teachers/teacher-collective-bargaining.aspx

There are two major elements of the bargaining. One is wages, and another is class size and composition.

The class size and composition proposals are of most interest from a parent perspective, as this is what will directly be affecting our children.

 

As further background, here is the full text of the Griffin decision, made January 2014, which restored previous class size and composition rules: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/14/01/2014BCSC0121cor1.htm

This judgement is being appealed, and apparently a decision may be heard October 2014.  More information on appeal: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/judge-grants-bcs-request-to-stay-decision-on-teachers-bargaining-pending-appeal/article17113956/

While the wage issue is the issue that receive the most media attention, DPAC has not historically taken a specific position on wages, other than advocating for a fair and negotiated settlement.

Article: Same rhetoric but different rules in this B.C. teachers’ strike

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/same-rhetoric-but-different-rules-in-this-b-c-teachers-strike-1.2650125

From this article:
“Stop me if you think you’ve seen this play before.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. government sit down to negotiate a contract. The two sides are miles apart on demands.

Negotiations go nowhere and after a contentious period of sniping at each other in the media, job action ensues.

Then after a short period of school disruptions, teachers agree to a deal or, more often, have a contract imposed on them through legislation.

It’s a textbook example of a dysfunctional bargaining relationship that neither side seems willing or able to fix.

Sadly, it has also been the script for teacher–government relations in B.C. ever since teachers got the right to strike and full collective bargaining in 1987.

So it’s not surprising that the current Liberal government thought it was following the same script when this round of contract talks began last year.

Except the dynamics have changed.

Sure, the rhetoric sounds the same, and the players have all played their roles as expected.

The government accuses the teachers of being out of touch and the BCTF accuses the government of shortchanging students and not bargaining in good faith.

But the motivation behind the job action that is being taken by teachers this time is different.

Yes, they want wage and benefit increases, roughly 20 per cent over four years according to government.

And, as is often the case, the amount is out of line with what many taxpayers would consider reasonable, given today’s economy and compared to agreements with other public sector workers that have already been made.

But a decade of court battles over government stripping away their right to bargain on issues of class size and composition — which teachers have won every time — has galvanized teachers’ resolve.

It was just this past January that the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that not only had government violated teachers’ constitutional rights in removing this aspect of bargaining, but had repeated that violation when it imposed new legislation meant to fix the original law.

So with all that top of mind, at this point, wages and salary demands are taking a backseat to the desire for changes in the classroom.

The teachers want smaller classes and firm rules around how many special needs students can be in a single class before the school has to provide extra teachers and supports.

They also want government and the public to recognize that per-student funding has fallen behind most of the other provinces.

According to Statistics Canada, B.C. spends just under $12,000 per student per year, the second lowest in Canada.

And there is the sticking point.

In past disputes, the BCTF has talked about these issues, but in the end the lure of more money for individual teachers— and in 2006, a $3700 signing bonus — forced the union to accept a deal without resolving those classroom concerns.

That’s what the government obviously thought would happen again this time when it revealed its $1,200 signing bonus offer last week.

But it was not to be. At this point, teachers are taking a stand on principle — or at least that is what they say. Holding out not only for more money, but for those classroom changes as well.

All of this spells bad news for anyone hoping for a speedy resolution to this dispute.

Not only are the teachers’ demands around classroom conditions expensive for taxpayers, but they also hit at the heart of an ideological dispute that’s kept these two sides apart for decades.

That is, the question of who should control B.C.’s education system — the 41,000 or so teachers running it, or the government elected by those paying for it?

It’s a question that both sides have shown can’t be negotiated and that the courts have ruled can’t be legislated either.

So as long as this fundamental argument remains the sticking point, students and parents should brace themselves to remain in the middle of a lengthy fight.”

Lockout announced

http://www.bcpsea.bc.ca/documents/teacher%20bargaining/Bargaining%20Bulletin/00-MM-Letter%20to%20BCTF%20Jim%20Iker%20May%2021,%202014.pdf

In summary:

  • teachers will not be allowed to do the work that they’re not supposed to be doing as part of the stage 1 job action – not work during recess or lunch, or be at school 45 minutes early or 45 minutes late, in addition to some other areas. As a result, teacher salaries would be reduced by 5%
  • Once/if the stage 2 rotating strikes start, salaries would be reduced by 10%
  • Secondary schools would be locked out to teachers June 25-26 (only secondary schools, grades 8 and up)
  • All teachers would be locked out June 27th

Note: June 26th is the last day of school

Updated – press conference from Jim Iker: http://new.livestream.com/BCTF/May222014

 

Strike in School District on Thursday, May 29th announced

http://www.news1130.com/2014/05/20/bctf-escalating-job-action-to-include-rotating-walk-outs

http://www.scribd.com/doc/225293244/BC-teachers-to-begin-rotating-strikes-on-Monday-May-26


From School District website: School District officials have received notification of a strike at all School District No. 57 (Prince George) schools next Thursday. Our sources indicate that the local one day strike is part of a series of rotating strikes that will affect learning in all of the province’s school districts during the period Monday, May 26th to Thursday, May 29th.
Schools will be in session (open) Monday, May 26, Tuesday, May 27 and Wednesday, May 28 but will be closed Thursday as a result of the one day strike.

Schools will re-open on Friday, May 30, 2014.


VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The union representing public school teachers has announced it is moving to Phase 2 of job action.

This means if you have a child in one of BC’s public schools, you’ll have to figure out a child care plan for one day next week. There will be walkouts in districts around the province, barring a last-minute deal between teachers and the government.

Every district in the province will be affected for one day, Monday to Thursday next week. In Vancouver’s case, that’s Monday. Extra curricular activities, such as field trips, will also be cancelled.

The BC Teachers’ Federation‘s announcement comes just days after the province made its latest contract proposal, offering a $1,200 signing bonus and a six-year contract in place of the 10-year deal that was a plank in the Liberal election campaign. The government proposal also threatens a five per cent wage cut if a contract isn’t reached by the end of the school year.

 

Planned public school closures (by district school number)

Monday, May 26:

#5 – Southeast Kootenay
#6 – Rocky Mountain
#28 – Quesnel
#39 – Vancouver*
#40 – New Westminster*
#48 – Sea to Sky
#49 – Central Coast
#59 – Pace River South
#62 – Sooke
#67 – Okanagan Skaha
#72 – Campbell River
#74 – Gold Trail
#75 – Mission*
#78 – Fraser-Cascade
#85 – Vancouver Island North
#87 – Stikine

Tuesday, May 27
#10 – Arrow Lakes
#19 – Revelstoke
#20 – Kootenay-Columbia
#23 – Central Okanagan
#27 – Cariboo-Chilcotin
#35 – Langley*
#38 – Richmond*
#42 – Maple Ridge*
#52 – Prince Rupert
#54 – Bulkley Valley
#63 – Saanich
#68 – Nanaimo
#70 – Alberni
#81 – Fort Nelson
#83 – North Okanagan-Shuswap

Wednesday, May 28
#34 – Abbotsford*
#37 – Delta*
#43 – Coquitlam*
#47 – Powell River
#50 – Haida Gwaii
#51 – Boundary
#53 – Okanagan Similkameen
#60 – Peace River North
#61 – Greater Victoria
#69 – Qualicum
#73 – Kamloops Thompson
#84 – Vancouver Island West
#91 – Nechako Lakes
#92 – Nisga’a

Thursday, May 29
#8 – Kootenay Lake
#22 – Vernon
#33 – Chilliwack*
#36 – Surrey*
#41 – Burnaby*
#44 – North Vancouver*
#45 – West Vancouver*
#46 – Sunshine Coast
#57 – Prince George
#58 – Nicola Similkameen
#64 – Gulf Islands
#71 – Comox
#79 – Cowichan Valley
#82 – Coast Mountains

Media Coverage of school board budget

http://www.250news.com/blog/view/31968/1/school+district+57++balances+budget+without+job+or+program+cuts

School Board Draft 2014/15 Budget

The draft budget, as presented at the school board meeting:

2014 may 13 sd57 budget portion of agenda package

Additionally, the audience received a copy of a press release that was released earlier today to the media (but not to partner groups), that went into more detail about some of the specific changes.

Some portions of this release:

“The combination of continued enrolment declines and the related decrease in funding from the Ministry of Education, the increase in staff wages due to the requirement to fund [provincially] negotiated wage increases from district resources, and downloaded increased benefits and utility costs presented the board of Education with a budget challenge for 2014-15 of $5,360,000. The school district simply isn’t generating enough funding from the Ministry of Education to meet the rising expenses of our large and complex organization.”

The challenge of finding $5,360,000 is to be met by:

  • identifying other revenues not previously recognized in the annual budget ($157,000)
  • Aligning budgeted expenditures with actual experience of the prior year ($1,354,000)
  • Requiring all schools and all departments to reduce their budget by 0.5% ($597,000)
  • Using $1,639,000 from unexpended school operating budgets [savings schools had put aside for future expenses]
  • Using $1,613,000 from surplus appropriated to future budgets

It was further noted that “using that magnitude of surplus in a single year is a significant concern as the use of surplus is not a sustainable budget practice”.

DPAC Minutes, May 5, 2014

DPAC MINUTES FOR May 5, 2014
7:00 p.m. Van Bien Training and Development Centre

Attendees:
DPAC Executive: Sarah Holland (Chair), Gillian Burnett (Treasurer), Darlene Campbell (District Associate) , (Director), Steve Shannon (Director) and Inge Culhane (Secretary)
Partner Groups: Brian Pepper, Superintendent; Karen Wong, C.U.P.E; Tina Cousins, PGDTA; Lori Dennill, PGPVPA;
School Reps: Jacqueline Dockray, College Heights Elementary; Darlene Campbell, Duchess Park; Inge Culhane, Edgewood; Shauna Connor, Ecole Lac des Bois; Sarah Holland, Heather Park; Steve Shannon, Kelly Road; Lotte Anderson, Nukko Lake; Darlene Campbell, Nusdeh Yoh; Dennis Fudge, Spruceland; Ryan Clake, Quinson; Michelle Rolfes, PGSS

1. Call to Order

2. Adoption of agenda and of April , 2014 Minutes
Adopted as circulated. Unanimous consent.

Continue reading DPAC Minutes, May 5, 2014

School Counselor Newsletter

Mental Health Week, May 5 – 11, 2014

 

When Children Experience Upheavalmhp01.gif
Tip—Grieving children will remember any effort you make to support and care for them.
Although we may not think of certain changes as loss, many children experience things like saying goodbye to a favorite teacher at the end of the year, moving to a new house, or acquiring a new sibling as losses.
When something more traumatic occurs, like a death or a divorce, the loss is more obvious and we expect grieving behavior.  How will this affect them? How can adults in their lives help them process their feelings and ease the transition?

Continue reading School Counselor Newsletter

Heavy Metal Rocks

One of the all time best first paragraphs:

Millions of dollars in high-tech metal fell into the hands of unqualified teenagers last Friday. Heavy Metal Rocks was back in the region that invented it – with 32 young people behind the wheel of almost every major machine known to the construction industry.

Heavy Metal Rocks is a School District 57 and College of New Caledonia trades training initiative, in partnership with WorkSafeBC and the Prince George Construction Association.

– See more at: http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/news/local/behind-the-wheel-at-heavy-metal-rocks-1.1024844#sthash.PYp4SIAk.dpuf