Teachers start job action 

Student classroom education unaffected so far

Teachers started their first phase of job action this week as negotiations continued to reach a new collective agreement.

"They won’t be attending meetings with administrators and they won’t be doing a lot of the usual paperwork," explained Carl Walker, president of the Howe Sound Teachers Association.

"But in terms of student education there should be minimal impact, so students will see very little change."

The action means that teachers will not prepare or distribute report cards or have any official interaction with administrative staff, except where safety is a concern or there is an emergency.

Despite the action the schools seem to be running smoothly.

"There is instruction going on and learning happening in the classroom," said Myrtle Philip principal Ron Albertin.

CUPE staff handles lunch supervision outside Myrtle Philip school. That is currently unaffected by the teacher action. But teacher supervision in the classroom during lunch has been reduced.

Teachers will still supervise kids getting on and off the school buses.

Albertin said Meet the Teacher nights are scheduled to continue as planned as they are a voluntary activity undertaken by the teachers and are therefore not covered by the job action.

At Whistler Secondary principal Bev Oakley said the staff and administrators were working on "creative ways" to make sure important information was getting to where it needed to go. And parents should be reassured, she said, that any information they need to know will get to them.

"The district is in touch with us daily but basically we are just taking it as it comes and we are developing creative solutions," said Oakley.

"We will keep (parents) informed and as things come up we will send home bulletins. We can’t predict what’s going to happen but as soon as we find things out we will inform the parents."

For now Oakley and vice-principal Maggy Butterfield will be supervising school bus use. Both already do lunchtime supervision, as high school teachers do not supervise at lunch.

The BCTF’s strategy is to introduce rotating strikes – one day a week – after Oct. 11 if progress on the new contract has not been made.

Teachers are asking for a 15 per cent pay increase over three years.

•Currently the average salary for teachers in the Howe Sound District for 04/05 was $60,750. The average benefit cost was $13,550.

•The average elementary school class size in 04/05 was 23.5. In 1995/96 it was 24.3.

•Total Ministry funding for the 04/05 year was $30.2 million for 4,288 students. The funding in 01/02 was $30.2 million for 4,477 students.

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