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Phase one of the BCTF’s job action beginning Wednesday

Recess will take place as usual during teachers
Recess will take place as usual during teachers' job action, which starts Wednesday. Superintendent Tom Grant says school principals and district managers will be supervising the children.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO

The first phase of B.C. public school teachers’ job action will see principals, vice-principals and other School District 43 managers heading out to supervise recess.

Superintendent Tom Grant confirmed that recess will continue for elementary schools despite BC Teachers’ Federation work-to-rule action that begins tomorrow (Wednesday) but there may be some restrictions to areas where kids can play to ensure safety.

While teachers will help out in an emergency, recess will now be supervised by managers from the Coquitlam school board office and high school administrators, possibly affecting work at schools and the board office.

“We’re going to try and do all sorts of things: Reduce the area that kids can play in so we can keep our eyes on them for safety as much as possible. And our teachers’ union and teachers have made it known if there is ever an emergency they’ll be there to help out,” Grant said.

Parents and students mostly won’t notice the changes, which affect supervision and communication between teachers and administrators.

REPORT CARDS TO COME

Report cards, student-led conferences and most extracurricular activities will be going ahead as normal, Grant said, and parents can continue to contact teachers and administrators to discuss their children’s education.

Still, Grant expressed some concern that time spent on supervising recess activities may impinge on other administrative operations, such as finalizing the district’s 2014/’15 budget, which has to be completed by the end of April.

“That will be difficult… We’re going to try and get things done as best we can,” he said, noting timelines may have to be stretched for some administrative duties delayed by senior staff having to take on job action-related tasks.

Phase one of teachers’ job action was announced last week by the BC Teachers’ Federation in response to what its president, Jim Iker, said was the lack of progress on teachers’ negotiations. The BCTF rejected an offer from the school district bargaining agency for a long-term contract, and Iker said future progress at the bargaining table would determine how long this phase would last.

Phase two of the BCTF plan involves rotating one-day walkouts around the province. Phase three, a full-scale strike, would require a second vote by members to authorize.

The BCTF has rejected the government’s offer for a 10-year agreement with pay increases totalling 6.5% over the first six years and additional wage increases to be negotiated for the final four years.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

– with files from Tom Fletcher

 

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