Open letter from Kitimat and area’s board of education

A letter to the editor from the chair of the Coast Mountains Board of Education on the teacher's strike.

Dear Sir,

We wish to acknowledge the extremely difficult situation our students, parents, teachers, all staff members and community partners in education find themselves. It is with great concern that we convey our dismay at the lack of progress in arriving at a fair and realistic settlement for teachers, the province and for its tax payers. The continued bargaining impasse has placed a great deal of stress on our school district and throughout our educational communities.

Coast Mountains Board of Education endorsed the BC School Trustees Association’s (BCSTA) Back to School Action Plan through province-wide feedback from Trustees. It clearly asked both the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employer‘s Association (BCPSEA) to implement the recommendations within that plan.

The plan can be found on the BCSTA website at http://www.bcsta.org/ where it specifically asks both parties to return to the bargaining table and work towards a negotiated settlement within the economic mandate set by the provincial government and to make improvements to class size and composition. Furthermore, any savings resulting from the strike and lockout must stay within the public school system to benefit students.

Despite the many efforts from Boards of Education across the province, we all find ourselves facing some of the most difficult times the province has ever seen in public education. In these uncertain times, Coast Mountains Board of Education continues to strongly encourage the BCTF and BCPSEA to come together to resolve this impasse for the benefit of our students’ learning.

As strong advocates for children and for public education, we reiterate our firm commitment to a stable and quality public education system for our staff, students, parents and community. It is our profound hope that our teachers, support staff, administrators and parents can get back to working together on behalf of all Coast Mountains’ students through a fair settlement allowing a time of labour peace where our focus can be around students, teaching and learning.

Sincerely,

Art Erasmus,

Chair, Coast Mountains Board of Education