Mission school district stays with one-week spring break

Extended holiday would contravene teachers' contract

Mission school district will not be following the lead from neighbouring communities that have extended spring break for students to two weeks.

Mission students will continue with the one-week break next school year, but the issue will likely be examined again in September, said Jim Taylor, vice chair of the Mission school board.

The schedule for the 2014-2015 school year had to be set by April 30.

Taylor explained the extended break would have put the district in conflict with their collective agreement with the Mission Teachers Union.

That’s the interpretation from BC Public School Employers Association, and the school board cannot override their decision, said Taylor.

The issue, according to Taylor, is in the language of the contract, which says “we couldn’t pay teachers on call for extra work they would work each day.”

In order to make up for the additional week off, extra minutes would be added to the school day every day. Teachers would be paid accordingly to the extra time worked, but that wouldn’t apply to substitute teachers.

“If MTU felt we violated the contract, there could be legal action,” said Taylor.

“BCPSEA has offered to work with us early next year (to come up with a solution). There have been several successful routes in other school districts.”

Taylor told The Record while some families don’t favour the two-week spring break, the majority of people the school board has heard from are pushing for it in order to bring Mission in line with other school districts, such as Maple Ridge and Abbotsford.

Taylor added he would support the change because it’s what parents want.