June 27, 2014 - 4:22 PM
KAMLOOPS - Not only are summer school programs at risk due to the ongoing teacher strike action but now summer programs held on school property are also at risk.
The B.C. Teacher’s Federation announced this week teachers would picket outside of schools hosting summer school programs if a deal is not reached by June 30. A decision on whether to declare summer programs an essential service is expected from the Labour Relations Board but Kamloops Superintendent Terry Sullivan says the application is ‘narrow’ and will not cover all of the planned programming.
“It’s difficult to say until we see what the decision is,” Sullivan notes. “We have to see what the LRB says. If they deny it pickets would be in place which means teachers we’ve hired would not be able to cross picket lines and we’d have to cancel.”
Even if it the board does declare summer programming for students who have failed courses a necessity, Sullivan is not sure the district will be able to provide any programming because of low enrolment.
Enrolment is only at 25 per cent of what it would normally be for summer programs in the district as well, something Sullivan attributes directly to the strike.
“We have to try and plan within this high degree of uncertainty,” he says. “We normally have grade level meetings in June every year with teachers and administration. We go through who has failed and who is close to passing to recommend summer school or taking a course again next year.”
Without those meetings many students are unsure what the best plan of action is. The 80 or so students who have registered for summer programs have done it on their own because they want to upgrade, or knew they were failing, or are just interested in taking a different course.
Until the district knows the board decision they are not sure how many programs will be given the go ahead and if it means teachers would only be running classes for two or three students the district will not be able to afford to continue any programming over the summer.
“Summer school makes a big difference for some students,” he says. “But it’s difficult to plan. It’s clear we won’t be able to offer the full range of programs.”
Other programs, including basketball camps and literacy programs such as the Bright Red Book Bus are also up in the air until the district knows which programs the local union plans on picketing. The Kamloops Interior Summer School of Music (KISSM) was told Thursday teachers would not picket outside the program.
Meanwhile the ongoing dispute means the local school district will not be able to provide report cards to any students either. All provincial examinations for grades 10 through 12 will be marked and entered into the Ministry of Education website. Marks will be available on the ministry website in August. Exams can be rewritten in August for those who did not pass or missed their exams. Grade 12 transcripts will be issued to students, from the ministry, in August as well.
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