No letters to province: school board

  • Apr. 2, 2012 8:00 p.m.

School trustees have decided that they will not be writing any letters to the provincial government about the ongoing dispute with the BC Teachers’ Federation, for now. At their March 27 meeting in Sandspit, trustees discussed a letter from Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association president Evelyn von Almassy requesting that they ask the provincial government to use a mediator or an arbitrator to reach a negotiated agreement with the teachers, rather than legislation. The HGTA letter was written before the government passed Bill 22, the legislation ordering an end to the teachers’ job action for a cooling-off period. Board chair Elizabeth Condrotte said the BC School Trustees Association had already made a similar request on behalf of all school districts in the province. She also said it might be better for this district to make its voice heard directly at a meeting with Education Minister George Abbott in Richmond on April 2, rather than writing a letter. However, Ms Condrotte, who will be attending the meeting, told the public she was not yet sure exactly what she would say to Mr. Abbott. “It’s a discussion in large part of Bill 22 and all the things in it,” she said, adding that she had not been directed by the board to convey any particular message, and wanted to hear what the minister had to say before responding. Asked what the school board thinks about Bill 22, Ms Condrotte said trustees had not yet had a chance to discuss it. “Let’s put it this way, I used to be a teacher and I used to be a principal,” Ms Condrotte said, saying that should answer any questions about her opinion of Bill 22. Ms von Almassy told the board that local teachers are extremely disturbed about Bill 22 and she hoped Ms Condrotte could convey that to the Education Minister. “I’m really, really upset about this bill. It’s really, really odious,” she said. “How is it good for provincial education?… The provincial government hates teachers and I’m really sad about that because I think teachers are great.”