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Nanaimo school board letter supports teachers

The Nanaimo school board voted to send a letter to B.C. Minister of Education Peter Fassbender relating to the province’s negotiations with teachers.

At its Feb. 26 regular meeting, the board approved a motion that will see chairwoman Dot Neary penning a letter on the board’s behalf, asking the government to withdraw an appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court ruling related to class size and composition, the two items that were stripped from teachers’ contract in 2002.

The board is also asking that the province provide funding to cover the cost of re-implementation of class size and composition and bargain in good faith as it negotiates with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation on a new collective bargaining agreement, before the start of the next school year.

The school district forecasted a shortfall of close to $6 million for the upcoming school year but it could decrease to $3 million with surplus and budget cutbacks.

“I find it almost criminal, and I’ll put that in quotes, to use the monies on legal fees, lawyers, etc., when that money should be going to our students and to actually still go on with an appeal and just to get, in my opinion, off the hook,” said trustee Donna Allen, who proposed the motion. “This is the second time now that the government has been told, ‘Go in a different route.’”

To have an appeal and to have it go on for another year was not right, she said.

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