Tuesday night’s Kootenay School District board meeting touched on the British Columbia Teachers Federation’s job action which has been in effect for three weeks.
The union’s decision to initiate a work action as a bargaining strategy with the provincial government has had significant impact on schools as non-essential teaching services like administrative duties have fallen by the wayside.
“Our principals are having to do far more duties than they would normally have to do,” said school board superintendant Jeff Jones.
Such restrictions have impacted schools’ efficiency.
“If a principal wants to share a message with his or her staff they can’t just email it to the staff, they actually have to go and talk face to face to each teacher on staff because the Teacher’s Federation has told the teachers not to open emails,” he said.
But no matter what’s going on behind the scenes, Jones remains certain that teachers are still committed to educating students.
“One of the things we’re all committed to, both the teachers and the district, is that students are learning and that they’re able to go to school in a safe environment,” said Jones.
The sticking points for the union during negotiations include, improved class size [ratios and caseloads], fair and reasonable compensations packages and effecting local bargaining to resolve local problems.
The provincial government on the other hand is sticking firm on its own objectives, which consist of eliminating job security, reducing teacher autonomy and removing protections on discipline and dismissing teachers.
Talks between the two sides continue.