June 13, 2014 - 10:32 AM
KAMLOOPS - Unless things change drastically over the next few days teachers will be entering a full strike Tuesday and parents and child care facilities around the city are scrambling to figure out what to do with all the displaced students.
For many parents it will mean digging a little deeper in their pockets to cover the unexpected costs.
“We’ve been able to manage (so far) by arranging field trips, but it’s been difficult for our after school program,” Holly Schafer, of Sahali Montessori, says. “Now with the full strike, we’re scrambling to figure it out, how to accommodate our after school program. It’s very tricky, we don’t want (parents and students) to have to cross picket lines.”
Schafer says they are trying to figure out how to keep their current program functioning during the strike and are not able to take any more kids.
“It saddens me,” she says. “It’s just affected so many people.”
Many working parents are relying on retired grandparents or stay-at-home moms (or dads) to help fill the void but there are also several groups in the city offering alternatives for those of us without the luxury of those options.
River City Gymnastics and the Kamloops Gymnastics and Trampoline Centre are both offering day camps during the full strike, at a cost of $25-$35 per child per day, and parents can sign up through the company websites or by calling the office. If the strike lasts through the end of the school year, June 26 in Kamloops, parents will be out of pocket an extra $225 to $315 per child.
The Boys and Girls Club of Kamloops is also offering day programs throughout the strike and the executive director says while they are capped by their license as to how many kids they can take in they will not turn away anyone who cannot afford the deeply discounted programming.
“We will be open at our main club on McArthur Island full days for children, all members and non-members,” Traci Anderson says. “We have centres at schools but don’t want people to have to cross picket lines so we’ll centralize.”
The club is only able to take in 60 kids and it will be on a first come first serve basis at a rate of $15. They will run the program from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. While those parents who cannot afford the program will not be required to pay those who can will be looking at an extra $135 for the nine remaining school days.
“We’re hugely concerned kids will be staying home alone,” Anderson says. “Parents are forced into this situation, they can get support here… if kids don’t have anywhere to go. We just want families to get through this strike.”
The B.C. Teacher's Federation announced it would move to a full strike, phase three of job action, beginning Tuesday, June 17 if a deal could not be reached on the collective agreement by then. Teachers will also take Monday as a study session day, part of phase two job action, and will not be on school grounds that day. Today, Friday, June 13, is a rotating strike day for Kamloops teachers.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014