The board of School District 53 is very concerned about the current strike and the lockout in our province, especially now that negotiations between the two parties have stalled. They feel that the strike has a negative impact on the students, staff morale and on the positive relationships that we foster in our district. They also know how stressful this last month has been for teachers and of all the extra work administrators and senior staff had to pick up in the last month. The board would like to thank them for their hard work and commitment to students and to our district.
The board is particularly worried about the vulnerable students who will miss out on the summer reading program that would have been offered during summer school. These students will now miss out on educational opportunities for at least three months which means that they will now further lag behind when school resumes.
Trustees in the district (through our provincial BCSTA) have lobbied both the government and the BCTF to get back to the bargaining table and to continue negotiations until a negotiated settlement is reached. The board has also written a letter to the minister to express their concerns and to urge the ministry to explore and appoint with the BCTF a mutually agreed upon mediator. Trustees in the district support a freely negotiated collective agreement with both CUPE and BCTF unions and the board would like to see a fair wage and benefit increase that is fully funded by the government. The board also would like to see the concerns around class size and class composition resolved and hope that through negotiations between the BCPSEA and the BCTF, this will be achieved.
On a positive note, CUPE Local 523 and the Board of the Okanagan Labour Relations Council ( school districts 53, 67 and 83) have reached a tentative agreement and the local boards and CUPE will now be working through the ratification process.
The board is very proud of the 193 students who graduated from the district’s four secondary schools. Trustees attended the ceremonies at YouLearn.ca (25 graduates), Southern Okanagan Secondary School (81 graduates), Similkameen Elementary Secondary School (33 graduates) and Osoyoos Secondary School (54 graduates). It was heartwarming to hear from the students how so many teachers and administrators touched their lives and inspired them.
The board approved the 2014/2015 budget (as explained in last month’s board report) at the last regular meeting of the school year. Superintendent Young also outlined the 2014/2015 District Achievement Contract which was approved. This contract will be uploaded to the website soon, so please go to the website for further information.
The Board of Education wishes everyone a safe and relaxing summer and hope to be back to a normal school year in September.
Should you have any questions, please contact Marieze Tarrr at 250-498-1333