Kootenay Lake schools will be back in session on Monday

Kootenay Lake schools resume Monday

BC teachers ratified the deal between the BC Teachers' Federation and the government.

Students in the Kootenay Lake school district will be going back to school on Monday as BC teachers ratified the deal last night made between the BC Teachers Federation and the government. This means all public schools will be back in session next week.

Teachers are in Nelson classrooms today preparing for next week’s first day of school for the 2014/15 year. As part of the return to work recommendation they are being paid for their prep time today.

Superintendent Jeff Jones said, “Monday is a partial day. Schools will start at their regular time but will end three hours early.”

Every school has it’s own schedule so it’s best to check the school’s individual website. Friday, September 26 is a profession development day for teachers so there will be no classes for students.

Although a deal has been struck, months of a tense labour dispute could linger.

“We recognize that this has been a trying time and a strain on everybody,” said Jones. “We look forward to working with our staff providing the quality education we are known for.”

Parents of kindergarten students should contact their schools for a schedule as there will be gradual entry for those new students.

For information about transportation, please check the SD 8 website (under the parents and students tab) or call the Busline at 1-855-352-0008 or 250-354-4871.

Teachers are returning to work after voting strongly in favour of ending the strike.

Teachers’ federation members voted 86 per cent in favour of a six-year agreement negotiated with the help of mediator Vince Ready this week. About three out of four of the province’s 40,000 teachers voted.

“I’m happy with this deal,” said BCTF president Jim Iker. It gives the province’s teachers raises totalling 7.25 per cent over six years, improvements to benefits and a fund to hire hundreds of new teachers each year.

Iker said the turnout for the vote was higher than the union’s last two ratification votes.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender congratulated teachers on the settlement, which ends a bitter strike that shut schools for two weeks in June and another three weeks this fall.

“We can now focus on the path forward,” Fassbender said. “This long-term agreement is an historic opportunity to work together for students – to enhance their education experience and to support their achievements.”

Premier Christy Clark added her thanks on Twitter.

“This is a fair, affordable deal that will let us focus on putting students first,” Clark said.

Iker said most school districts will reopen Monday, and the ministry has notified superintendents that the school year will not be extended to make up the days lost to the strike.

The finance ministry is preparing to send out compensation of $40 per lost student day to parents of students up to age 12. One-time payments are expected to be sent out in October to eligible parents who registered at bcparentinfo.ca.

With files from Tom Fletcher

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