It was a relatively uneventful opening day in Mission Public Schools, except for the ongoing job action by teachers across the province.
The BC Teachers’ Federation and the BC Public School Employers’ Association are negotiating a new collective agreement for teachers, but dissatisfaction with a number of issues prompted the BCTF to initiate phase one job action.
Simply put, teachers won’t be meeting with administrators, or taking part in meetings, said Mike Trask, president of the Mission Teachers’ Union (MTU). All activities involving children are still happening, he continued, including instruction, readying lesson plans, marking and communicating with parents on children’s progress.
Local educators’ sentiments echo those across the province, he noted.
“We’re really disappointed that we haven’t been able to take steps forward at the bargaining table,” said Trask, highlighting teachers’ benefits packages, which haven’t changed since 1994, on top of class-size debates.
The current level of job action will be maintained until an agreement is reached, and it would escalate to rotating strikes only after a provincial vote of teachers.
Locally, both Trask and superintendent Frank Dunham said the relationship between teachers and administration is quite civil.
“We understand most of the issues are between the BCTF and BCPSEA,” said Trask, adding that grievances in school district 75 are “way down” from years past.
“Our main priority is the students,” said Dunham, “and I’m confident that local teachers and principals will work hard, and will work hard together, to minimize disruption.”
The school district will communicate updates on the situation through its website (www.mpsd.ca), newsletters and parent advisory councils.