August 27, 2014 - 6:30 AM
KELOWNA - The Central Okanagan Board of Education is ‘extremely disappointed’ in the lack of movement between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association, which could result in schools not being open next week as planned.
Trustees say they have been pushing the two parties to bring in a mediator to help reach an agreement and will continue to ‘strongly encourage’ the two parties to resolve the issue for the benefit of the students.
“We believe that where there is a will there is a way,” board chairperson Moyra Baxter says in a letter to parents. “It is still not too late for an agreement to be reached before Sept. 2.”
“This time of year is usually exciting for students, parents, guardians, teachers, staff members and trustees,” Baxter she goes on to say. “It is our profound hope that the uncertain times in which we all find ourselves will be over this week.”
The letter also points a finger at the province for budget cuts that have led to reduced education programs and says the government has not kept up with inflation or the extra costs that have been downloaded onto districts.
Teachers began job action in April and then moved to rotating strikes in May. The school year ended a week early as teachers moved to a full strike in June. Mediator Vince Ready had said earlier in the summer the two parties were too far apart for mediation but has since met with them individually. With only a week left before back to school, teachers across the province resumed strike action this week.
Updates on the current situation can be found online on the school district website. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact any of the school board trustees.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014