School opening uncertain

  • Aug. 27, 2014 8:00 a.m.

Parents, teachers, students and administrators remain uncertain this week about whether schools on Haida Gwaii will open for the new year on Tuesday (Sept. 2) as scheduled. A provincial labour dispute that closed provincially-funded schools in mid-June remains unresolved and could mean that schools across BC won’t be open next week. School District 50 posted an update on its website this week, advising parents that preparations are underway for school to begin as scheduled and that all are hopeful a settlement will be reached. Maintenance crews and custodians have been working to get school ready for the arrival of students, and teachers have been able to come in and prepare classrooms. “At this point, we do not know for certain when school will commence, but we continue to prepare for school to begin as scheduled on September 2, 2014,” wrote superintendent Angus Wilson on the website. “In the event developments occur in which school resumes, be assured schools will be ready for students immediately.” Jennifer Jury, president of the Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association, said teachers are hoping the government will agree to mediated negotiation and that a deal can be reached before Sept. 2, but will continue job action if that isn’t the case. “We are prepared to continue with job action if a fair contract isn’t in place,” Ms Jury said. “September 2 will be a study session day and teachers on Haida Gwaii will then be on the picket lines for the remainder of the week. Teachers are disappointed by the stall tactics at the bargaining table and want to be in their classrooms working with kids on September 2.” Old Massett’s Chief Matthews Schools will be open next week, as it is federally, not provincially funded.