August 15, 2014 - 2:09 PM
KAMLOOPS - As of Friday morning, B.C. teachers are still on strike and with only three weeks before back to school it’s time to start planning for what to do with your kids if a deal cannot be made before Sept. 2.
Monica van der Meulen of the YMCA says the local group will be running full-time days, but only for kids currently in the program.
“We have no additional space right now,” she says. “If parents are looking for care they can call the Child Care Resource and Referral service, we have a list of agencies and caregivers. We’ve asked specifically for strike time to let us know if they have additional space or can do full days.”
The referral agency keeps a list of agencies and caregivers year-round but has specifically asked these groups to let them know if they will have room if the strike continues. Parents can then provide the agency basic information like preferred location and ages of kids and a list of groups fitting those requirements.
Van der Meulen says they have been getting calls already and it is better to make arrangements now instead of waiting until the last minute.
“Panic is starting to set in (for some parents),” she says. “I definitely wouldn’t leave it to the last minute. Do it sooner rather than later.”
Dorota Smentek of the Boys and Girls Club says while they have not firmed up any plans she anticipates they will also offer programming similar to what they offered at their McArthur Island location in June if the strike continues into the new school year.
“I believe we will have a program again when the time comes,” she says. “But we are waiting just like everyone else.”
The provincial government announced in July that if the strike continued into the school year a subsidy of $40 per day for children under 13 would be provided to parents. The subsidy would be funded from the $12 million in daily savings from teachers’ salaries.
The strike saw teachers move from job action, which began in April, to rotating strikes in May and then full strike action in June. The B.C. Teachers Federation and the province have been unable to come to an agreement since, though mediator Vince Ready finally believes the two sides are close enough to warrant his service. He had said back in June that they were too far apart and that he would not offer mediation until they could come a little closer.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014