B.C. teachers vote against bid to host 2010 Winter Olympics 

Hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games got the thumbs down from B.C. teachers at their recent annual general meeting.

"The teachers voted against any support of that because they felt that was taking money away better spent on education," said David Walker, vice-president of the Howe Sound Teacher’s Association who attended the meeting in Vancouver last week.

"The delegates felt the province couldn’t afford it.

"So as far as Whistler is concerned that was an issue."

Several other high profile educational issues were covered at the meeting including the on-going controversy over the banning of school district employees from sitting as parent representatives on school planning councils.

"We are very opposed to this as many teachers and workers are parents as well," said Walker a teacher librarian at Whistler Secondary School.

"They feel that just because they are a teacher doesn’t mean that should limit their involvement in their child’s education.

"There was a lot of debate and the end resolution was that they would once again try to pressure the government and support candidates in future elections that would allow teachers to participate in school planning councils if they wanted to."

The teachers authorized their union to go to court to challenge the provincial law.

Education Minister Christy Clark has said earlier that she excluded school employees as parent representatives for the same reason she gave parents three of five council positions: She doesn't want the parent voice to be overwhelmed by the voice of school employees.

The councils are responsible for developing school growth plans and submitting them to school boards for approval.

Parent advisory council members elect parent representatives and teachers are elected by their colleagues.

The growing number of international students in school districts was also discussed.

Many school districts, including Howe Sound, are continuing to increase the number of international students as the high fees they pay can help offset budgetary shortfalls.

But teachers are concerned that some of the students are not getting the attention they need at school and outside.

"School boards have to become more accountable in the program because it is not just about the money it is also about the welfare of the children," said Walker.

"Some of these children, especially in Vancouver but also here as well, are staying four or five to a house and so you have to wonder how much individualized attention are they getting.

"Their parents have paid all this money for them to come over to have this education and so there has to be accountability about that."

Meanwhile the Vancouver Sun reported this week that the Canadian Union of Public Employees is urging parents to join them in a fight against the four-day school week.

CUPE workers, who include secretaries, janitors and bus drivers stand to loose 20 per cent of their salaries if districts adopt a four-day week for schools.

Teachers and administrators, whose salary is calculated annually, would not suffer financially.

A four-day school week is being considered in Whistler but discussions are at a very preliminary level.

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