UPDATED: Coquitlam teachers to rally this week
As School District 43’s superintendent issued a letter to parents of school-aged children this week about the impact of the ongoing teachers’ strike, the local teachers’ union issued a call to action.
Coquitlam Teachers’ Association (CTA) sent out a notice today, called “Action for Public Education.”
It calls not for picket lines for three demonstrations this week.
There will be a protest on Como Lake Avenue in front of Hillcrest middle school on Wednesday from 8 to 10 a.m.
On Thursday, from 8 to 10 a.m., there will be a protest at the same location. And Friday from 10 a.m. to noon, there is to be a protest outside the constituency office, located in Suter Brook, of Linda Reimer, the BC Liberal MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam.
The purpose of the demonstrations is to “engage all members of the community in support of public education and in support of a deal being reached by September 2nd,” according to the CTA notice.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated Aug. 22, SD43 superintendent Tom Grant offered three scenarios for what will happen on Sept. 2, when the new academic year is scheduled to start:
• schools will open on time if a settlement is reached;
• schools will be picketed if no settlement is reached;
• or schools will open but teachers’ duties will be limited.
Grant said to ease the uncertainty around the province-wide dispute and about new registrations for students, School District 43 has posted information on its website (sd43.bc.ca), which will be updated regularly.
It has also provided a list of frequently asked questions that parents and guardians might find helpful. For answers not found, Grant encourages parents to call the district staff team at 604-939-9201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well, Grant said SD43 has been told parents who have kids signed up at daycares and preschools located on school district property will be given clearance to cross the picket lines should the job action continue; parents are asked to check with their daycare or preschool to see if they are open during the strike.
Meanwhile, Chuck Denison, president of the District Parent Advisory Council for SD43, said many parents have been frustrated since the dispute started in June.
“Now, their patience is wearing thin,” he told The Tri-City News on Monday.
Should the strike carry on past Sept. 2, students will miss the milestone of their first day of school, he said.
Earlier this month, Denison was at a special meeting in Richmond of DPAC presidents from around B.C., hosted by the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, who want both the BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government to find a solution quickly.
On Sunday, the urgency was turned up further when the BC Teachers’ Federation president called on Education Minister Peter Fassbender to “get this deal done.” Jim Iker delivered his challenge before hundreds of teachers gathered in Kamloops for the union’s summer leadership conference.
The government has vowed to pay parents $40 a day per school-aged child for every school day they miss because of the strike.