School District 68 sent out word regarding negotiations stalling to teachers and school staff on Monday, Jan. 30.
A series of meetings at schools informed teachers and staff no agreement was likely before a Tuesday, Jan. 31 deadline and a one-week spring break proposal would be forwarded for approval at Wednesday’s meeting.
Superintendent Scott Saywell said a letter of understanding is required between the District and NDTA to adjust certain aspects of the provincially-negotiated collective agreement.
Saywell added the primary reason for a lack of agreement boils down to a trio of NDTA proposals.
“Three items that the NDTA insisted on in order to continue the two week spring break, changes to prep time, TTOC pay and experience credits are all provincial matters and outside the District’s jurisdiction to negotiate.”
Over the last eight years, a two-week spring break has been created locally by extending each school day for a few minutes in order to meet minimum classroom time requirements set out by the province.
Returning to one week would shorten each school day by a few minutes.
President of the NDTA Jeremy Inscho told NanaimoNewsNOW talks continue and both sides want to find a resolution.
“We’ve been through negotiation and trying to find a way to come to an agreement that will allow both the district to save money through this and will allow the two-week spring break to happen. It’s been a hot topic for sure.”
The status of negotiations took many teachers by surprise.
Several reached out to NanaimoNewsNOW following meetings after class on Monday, expressing their disappointment at the news.
A handful of teachers, primarily from neighboring Wellington Secondary went to the NDTA office on Barons Rd. on Tuesday to meet with the Association’s executive.
Inscho said the issues currently at the forefront have been brought up a few times this school year in various meetings with teachers, but said messaging from the District on Monday indicated talks were over.
“Things happen really quickly, and the timing of communication really was short. It wasn’t that it wasn’t communicated, just things move quickly. Teachers really do want the two-week spring break by and large. The complexity of classrooms and the difficulties that teachers face every day are unparalleled, so the extra time off is very much appreciated.”
No specific timeline was decided during Wednesday’s meeting, only the issue would return at the next appropriate time once negotiations had concluded.
An agreement must be complete in the coming weeks to allow for required steps ahead of submission to the province by the end of March.
Join the conversation. Submit your letter to NanaimoNewsNOW and be included on The Water Coolerour letters to the editor feature.
On Twitter: @NanaimoNewsNOW