August 28, 2014 - 2:56 PM
VERNON - Teachers and parents urged the Vernon school board to push for mediation between the B.C. Teachers Federation and the provincial government at a meeting Wednesday.
Tensions were high in the packed boardroom, which had standing room only. School board trustees, teachers and parents all agreed they needed to get students back in the classroom as soon as possible. The question they asked themselves was how to make it happen.
The board resolved early in the meeting to send a letter to the BCTF and the B.C. Public School Employers Association expressing its desire to have mediation occur immediately, but many attendees insisted that wasn’t enough.
“We’re passed letter writing,” Robyn Ladner with the Vernon Teachers’ Association said. “I urge you not to sit back but to stand up.”
Trustees were asked to speak directly with their representatives and ask for mediation. The parent of a Vernon Secondary student wanted to know if the board had thought of other ways to put pressure on both sides of the labour dispute.
“Most of us were hoping by the time this meeting was called this would be over,” board chair Bill Turanski said. “We haven’t spent the summer coming up with other options.”
Teachers felt students could be back in school next week, but not without some action from the board.
By the end of the meeting, some people had stormed out in frustration. Trustees ultimately kept to their original decision of sending a letter, and possibly discussing mediation with their representatives in a conference call Thursday.
“Basically, we’ll be doing what we have been doing, writing some letters to both parties involved in the negotiation, encouraging them to get that done quickly,” Turanski said.
Superintendent Joe Rogers said the district needs to ready itself for school to start, whenever that may be.
“It’s not going to be perfect when we get back,” Rogers said.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014