Nanaimo students will receive report cards this fall, but how much information will be included on these documents is yet to be determined.
Since September, teachers have refused administrative duties such as report cards or playground supervision.
The B.C. Public School Employers’ Association is seeking a Labour Relations Board ruling that would require teachers to prepare and distribute report cards. The application also included a request that the B.C. Teachers’ Federation reimburse school districts 15 per cent of teachers’ gross salary and benefits per month for work that teachers are not performing as part of the strike.
Deborah Stewart, association spokeswoman, said the BCTF has until Nov. 14 to provide the LRB with a submission on the application, then the employers’ association has until Nov. 18 to respond to that submission.
The board will then decide whether the matter requires on oral hearing, she added.
Dave Hutchinson, superintendent of schools, said the district was informed by the Education Ministry that school administrators will be expected to issue report cards even if the only information on them is attendance and identification details, as required under the School Act.
In some cases, if the labour board does not rule in the employers’ favour, the report cards will be nearly blank, but student progress information will be available on those students taught by principals or vice-principals, he said. Parents will receive a letter explaining the situation.
Report cards are typically distributed around the end of November.
Justin Green, Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association first vice-president, said the union expects teachers to communicate how students are doing with parents – just not in the form of a formal report card – and he finds it odd that districts are being told to issue report cards even if they contain no information about student progress.
As for the application to reimburse districts 15 per cent for work not done due to job action, Green said communicating with parents in alternative ways to the administrator-organized parent-teacher nights and report cards is more time consuming.
“I’m not sure you could find any teacher out there working less during the strike,” he said.
Settlement not in sight
A negotiated settlement with teachers – collective agreements expired last June and the two parties have been at the bargaining table on and off since March – is still a long way off, said Stewart.
Discussions between the employers and the teachers’ union have centred around what issues can be bargained at local tables and what should be provincially bargained matters since the start of school, she said, and the two parties still have to discuss $2.1 billion worth of BCTF proposals.
Green said his updates also confirm that discussions are moving forward at a snail’s pace and the parties have not yet reached agreement on any issue.