By Steve Hubrecht
The start of the school year is just around the corner, but with the ongoing province-wide teachers strike still in effect, classes in the valley could well be empty for the first week of September.
As of The Pioneers press deadline on Wednesday, August 27th, there had been no indications of a breakthrough in stalemated negotiations between the provincial government and the British Columbia Teachers Federation (or BCTF, the provincial teachers union). Valley teachers and the local school board chair expressed hopefulness that a deal could be reached over the weekend.
Teachers want to go back to school and be teaching, there is still time for the government to come to the bargaining table and offer a fair deal for teachers that will support all our kids, said David Thompson Secondary School teacher Lizzie Midyette, adding she had heard BCTF president Jim Iker and provincial Minister of Education Peter Fassbender would be meeting this coming weekend.
Im still hopeful there could be a deal, she said.
Local Rocky Mountain School District #6 Board of Education chair Jim Jenkinson, speaking on Wednesday, August 27th, said he had no idea how likely it was that classes would start as scheduled on Tuesday, September 2nd.
Right now we dont have any information; theres a media blackout, said Mr. Jenkinson As long as the teachers are still striking, schools will not be open that week. Obviously were hoping for a resolution, we just have to wait and see.
Mr. Jenkinson said the board would be updating parents as often as possible on the situation, and advised checking the boards website at www.sd6.bc.ca for the latest information.
Our schools would be ready to open on September 2nd if the strike is called off or a resolution is reached, he said.
The Pioneer attempted to contact Windermere Teachers Association (the local teachers union) president Doug Murray for comment but was unable to reach him prior to deadline.