September 02, 2014 - 9:20 PM
WEST KELOWNA – Christy Clark's constituency office better get used to company.
More than 200 people gathered out front of the Premier's West Kelowna constituency office on Dobbin Road today—what should have been the first day of school—to add pressure in her dispute with the province's teachers and a whole lot more may be coming tomorrow.
Tuesday's rally will be followed by a B.C. Teachers Federation supported event at her office at 4 p.m. Wednesday, according to a release today. While Federation president Jim Iker remains in the Lower Mainland, the union is calling on teachers and parents from across the valley to join. Teachers have been on strike since June and mediator Vince Ready said Saturday both sides are still too far apart for him to help.
Meanwhile, School District 23 cast some doubt on public access to soccer fields and ball diamonds. In an open letter to parents Tuesday, Supt. Hugh Gloster confirmed non-curriculum activities the school district undertakes—preschools, after-school care programs and evening rentals—are cancelled because of the strike and couldn't promise fields would be maintained.
"School fields may still be accessed after normal school hours by user groups with rental agreements in place," he said. "However, this may have to change in the future if we are unable to dispatch staff from our Operations Department to maintain the grounds."
Gloster also said the district will consider issuing refunds for leases, rental agreements, specialty academies and transportation during the cancellations.
"The school district will be reviewing these items once the dispute is concluded, and will send out further communication in the future," he said. “While we remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached in the near future, we have to be realistic in asking parents to continue to make alternate arrangements for their children until further notice."
A website has been established to help parents get the latest information on bargaining news as well as a link to register for the $40 Temporary Education Support for Parents.
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