KAMLOOPS - While school district summer school programs have been cancelled third party summer programs will not be subject to picketing, according to the local teacher’s union president.
“There won’t be any third party picketing… where they just rent the facility,” Jason Karpuk says. “They rent, they do the hiring, the board doesn’t provide any insurance. That’s how we’ve differentiated.”
The teachers decided they would continue striking through the summer if an agreement could not be reached by June 30. The province asked the Labour Relations Board to consider summer school an essential service, which it did for remedial courses.
Due to low enrolment and the expected picket lines the Kamloops-Thompson School District decided late last week to cancel all summer school programs, including Rec and Reading, summer math camps and even remedial courses.
Only about 80 students had registered for summer programs as of last week, which is only about 25 per cent of the normal enrolment. He says the low enrolment is due to the strike. Student evaluations normally done in June have not been completed so it is unclear how many students are even eligible for the remedial program.
Karpuk says the Bright Red Book Bus, a new summer reading program that travels to local schools and parks to distribute books to kids, will likely not be affected.
“I don’t believe it would be,” he says. “(The school district) is not doing the hiring… I need the finer details (of the program) though.”
As for negotiations between the B.C. Teacher’s Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association Karpuk says he hasn’t heard anything recently.
“They are planning to meet over the summer,” he says. “That’s pretty much all the information I have right now.”
Karpuk, whose term as president ends June 30, says this is not the way he planned on leaving the local union but feels the district is still in better condition than when he came in four years ago.
“It’s been a busy four years, but it feels incomplete. We don’t have closure on this one,” he says. “I would’ve liked to stay on, I would’ve liked to have gone out on a different note. But I know the cause will be carried forward.”
David Komljenovic steps in as the new president of the local teacher’s association July 1.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at email@example.com or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-718-2724.