School District 6 superintendent Paul Carriere

School District 6 superintendent Paul Carriere

Stay granted as appeal looms in education ruling

Decision on stay came after nine affidavits contributed by superintendents of B.C. school districts

Classrooms in the Columbia Valley and across the province won’t soon be seeing any changes to class size and composition, after the B.C. Court of Appeal granted the province’s request last Wednesday (February 26th) for a stay on orders imposed in a major court decision in January.

That January 17th B.C. Supreme Court ruling, which effectively reinstates the 2002 collective bargaining agreement between teachers and the province, was appealed by the province in February — and while the appeal waits to be heard, the province asked for the stay, a move that prevents the need to spend between $300 million and $1 billion to hire more teachers across the province.

The decision on the stay came after Justice David Harris considered government arguments that included nine affidavits contributed by superintendents of B.C. school districts — including one from Rocky Mountain School District 6 superintendent Paul Carriere, after a request from the B.C. Ministry of Education’s Superintendent of Achievement.

“The affidavit I submitted does not take a position in the court case,” Mr. Carriere told the Valley Echo. “The question that guided the creation of the document was simple: if the pre-2002 contract language in the local teacher collective agreement were required to be immediately implemented in School District 6, what would the impacts be?”

Under the BC School Act, superintendents have a duty to provide information to the Education Minister as requested, and the School District 6 board of trustees was not required to pass a motion to allow the affidavit to go ahead.

In a media scrum held in Vancouver after the stay decision was announced, provincial Education Minister Peter Fassbender said the superintendents’ documents were crucial.

“I want to thank all the school districts that submitted affidavits to the court that really showed the impact of the judgment,” he said. “I think that had a large part to play in us being able to move forward now and see the justice process take its full course.”

Asked whether he feels the number of students per classroom should be a part of bargaining negotiations, Mr. Carriere noted class size limits were in the collective agreement prior to 2002, were later in legislation, and are now a provincial bargaining matter.

“We have worked with class size limits for a long time, whether they have been in agreements or legislation,” he said.

Last month, School District Six approved a budget of roughly $33 million for the 2014-2015 school year.

On the labour dispute, School District 6 has an official stance: that the solution to the conflict lies in a negotiated settlement between the government and B.C. teachers, rather than in the courts.

The last contract between the province and the B.C Teachers’ Federation expired in June 2013. Contract negotiations between the two sides resumed yesterday, March 4th, with the province still refusing to put class size and special needs support limits back into the contract, and the teachers yet to disclose a wage demand.

Yesterday was also the first day of a three-day vote by B.C. Teachers’ Federation members on a strike mandate, a move that could be a significant bargaining chip in the negotiations.

 

Just Posted

The end of an Echo
The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

Princeton wildfire phots courtesy of Debbie Lyon.
UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers
VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

Aerial view south of Williams Lake Friday afternoon shows dry lightning storm passing over, leaving fire starts behind. Lightning sparked more than 100 new fires Friday. (Black Press)
VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017
DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase
59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

(Flickr/Andreas Eldh)
Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage
Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds
UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Photo by: WeissPaarz.com
Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert
UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

A university study finds that about nine per cent of Canada’s Grade 11 and 12 students – roughly 66,000 teens – have driven within an hour of drinking and 9.4 per cent drove after using marijuana.                                 Photo: Now-
Leader file
One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records
Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read