Lengthy school strike possible, school district warns

  • Sep. 3, 2014 1:00 p.m.

Public schools on Haida Gwaii were quiet on the traditional back to school day Tuesday as striking teachers held study sessions and district administration warned parents to prepare for a lengthy delay.In a message posted to the school district website, superintendent Angus Wilson said the weekend collapse of negotiations between the employer and the teachers’ union means the start of this school year will not be a normal one.”Parents should not expect regular school for at least the next week and likely beyond,” he wrote. “We continue to monitor the provincial negotiations and remain hopeful a settlement will unfold soon.”School will resume as soon as possible once an agreement is reached, he said.”We are optimistic that a deal is going to happen soon and that we will then be able to return to the classroom to do what we love to do,” said Jen Jury, president of the Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association. Ms Jury also said she is disappointed the government didn’t come to the bargaining table ready to get a deal, and that she is “really acknowledging that the picket line is not where our teachers want to be.”There are six public schools on Haida Gwaii: Tahayghen elementary and G.M. Dawson secondary in Masset, Port Clements elementary, Sk’aadgaa Naay elementary in Skidegate, Queen Charlotte Secondary and A.L. Mathers elementary in Sandspit.Two other schools on Haida Gwaii, the band council-run Chief Matthews in Old Massett and the independent Living and Learning School in Queen Charlotte, started their school year this week as normal, with classes Tuesday in the Charlotte school and Wednesday in the Old Massett school.