School districts delay summer school pending teachers' strike negotiations

Dec 19 2017, 11:05 am

School is already out for summer in B.C., but the recent teacher’s strike could also have an impact on summer school classes in the province.

The Vancouver School Board (VSB) has delayed the start of summer school to July 7.

In a press release yesterday, the VSB said that their decision to delay summer school would, “provide additional time for the two bargaining parties to reach a deal as well as to allow for a decision from the Labour Relations Board around whether remedial summer school courses will be deemed an essential service.”

The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association has requested B.C. Labour Relations Board to increase their essential services order in an attempt to get teachers back into the classroom for summer remedial courses. Remedial courses are programs for students who have failed a high school course.

The VSB summer program has about 17,000 registrations for students who need to take remedial courses, secondary preview courses and elementary school programs.

The students who attend summer school are not just local. The VSB estimates that 320 international students will enroll in courses, paying a total of $360,000 in fees.

If summer school is cancelled, the government will save approximately $1.4 million on teachers’ salaries.

Ultimately, students will suffer the most. John Puddifoot of the B.C. Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils said that the cancellation of summer school could mean delayed graduation or entry into post-secondary for students who need to redo or make up a failed course.

On June 25, the BCTF announced that if the government does not come up with funding to reach a fair settlement by June 30, teachers would be prepared to extend the strike into summer and picket out summer school.

Education Minister, Peter Fassbender has said if a decision by the Labour Relations Board is not made in the Province’s favour, summer school will not happen as long as teachers remain off the job. In a recent statement Fassbender expressed his dismay, calling the BCTFs decision, “unfortunate.”

The province is currently proposing a signing bonus of $1,200 if a deal is reached by next Monday. The teacher’s union is asking for a $5,000 singing bonus. Both parties appear to be far from reaching a deal, meaning classrooms could be empty for longer than expected.


Featured Image: Teacher and students via Shutterstock