August 28, 2014
Dear Parents and Guardians:
As you are aware, the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the BC Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) reached an impasse with regard to negotiating a new contract during our last school year, and the BCTF escalated to a full-scale strike on June 17, 2014. Unfortunately, the two parties have not made significant progress over the summer months and so the possibility of school start-up following Labour Day is uncertain.
We remain hopeful that the two parties will reach a negotiated settlement before the school year is due to begin. As a result, a decision on school start-up will likely not be made until as late as Monday, September 1 to provide the maximum amount of time to reach a negotiated settlement. We encourage you to consult our website (www.cmsd.bc.ca) and follow the local media for any changes over the long weekend. There are two main possibilities:
1. If there is a settlement, we expect that all schools in the Coast Mountains School District will open on September 2. While schools may open on time, we anticipate some disruption in regular instruction, as course scheduling for students and timetables, particularly at the secondary level, may need to be resolved. However, we will do our utmost to provide as much stability as possible and return to normal operations quickly.
2. If there is no settlement, some or all schools in the Coast Mountains School District may be behind picket lines. In this scenario, a withdrawal of service will again impact the school district’s ability to provide educational service for students. While schools will remain open, we will not be able to offer our regular instruction as we anticipate that unionized staff will not cross the picket lines. As a result, we will again request that parents and guardians not send their children to school and seek alternate childcare arrangements. The safety of our students is our highest priority. Should any students arrive at school while picket lines are in place, our school administrators will ensure that they are supervised until they can be safely returned to the care of a parent or guardian.
Again, we are hopeful that this dispute can be resolved before Tuesday, September 2. This is a frustrating and disappointing time for everyone involved. We have an outstanding public school system in British Columbia, and we will work diligently to ensure students get through the year successfully once the school year gets underway.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to consult our website at www.cmsd.bc.ca and follow local media for any changes that may be announced over the coming days.
Superintendent of Schools