By David F. Rooney
School District 19 and the Revelstoke Teachers’ Association are pleased that the BCTF and the province have reached a tentative agreement regarding the union’s collective rights.
“I am very pleased that this tentative agreement has been reached,” said SD 19 Chairman Bill MacFarlane. “It brings resolution to a dispute that has gone back 15 years. There are a number of implementation issues that need to be worked out but I know the District and the Revelstoke Teachers’ Association will work hard to achieve compliance with the restored language. I would add that this agreement makes me very optimistic about the next round of teacher bargaining in 2019.”
RTA President Bob Rogers said he was particularly pleased that the tentative deal was reached in time for the 2018 spring staffing process.
“We also feel that it is important to say that we appreciate the efforts that School District 19 has made over the last 15 years to work with the RTA to keep our class sizes within or very close to the previous guidelines which have now been re-instated,” he told The Revelstoke Current. “Those efforts will make it much easier in our district to return to the staffing levels of 2002 than is the case in many other districts.”
McFarlane and Rogers were commenting on Saturday’s separate announcements by Education Minister Michael Bernier and BCTF President Glen Hansman.
“I think it’s also worth noting that while Education Minister Mike Bernier and Premier Christy Clark have both made statements to the effect that that this presents an opportunity to invest in students and make improvements to our education system, this is something they could have done by not passing the legislation 15 years ago which was eventually ruled to be a violation of collective bargaining rights by the Supreme Court of Canada,” he said. “Fifteen years have gone by in which the learning conditions of students and working conditions of teachers across the province have suffered and they are only returning what never should have been taken away in the first place, and millions of dollars have been spent in the court battles which could have been spent on improving the system.”
Rogers said teachers, students and “all education partners are surely looking forward with optimism to next September and the increased support for kids that will be present in our schools.”