Whatever schools may be closed in School District 27 the Cariboo Teachers Association leadership wants a transition that is fair for all staff, says CCTA president Joan Erb.
The school board’s proposal to close five schools in the district will have a serious impact on teachers and administrators but there is no language in their current contract that would assure a fair transition for all staff, Erb says.
She says the contract language has normal “post and fill” provisions, which would not be appropriate given the scope of the proposed school closures.
“Our main concern is for staffing,” Erb says. “We have been issued notice under Section 54 of the Labour Relations Code that schools could be closed and positions eliminated.
“This is an opportunity for the unions and staff to create a formula that would be applicable given the circumstances.”
Erb says CCTA representatives will meet with school staff representatives to look at the contract language and will also take some training with the B.C. Teachers Federation on how to proceed.
Erb says the union will look to create a process that would be fair for all teachers as well as what possible severance packages might look like.
“Whatever we come up with would have to be approved by the membership at a general meeting,” Erb says.
If new positions created in the remaining schools are simply posted Erb says teachers whose jobs are being eliminated would be able to bid twice on positions of choice.
If the teacher didn’t win a position then they would be able to exercise their right to bump into a position held by a teacher junior to them.
Under their contract, Erb says principals and vice-principals whose positions are eliminated can also bid back into teaching positions using their full seniority rights.
The process could take months to complete, which in itself is a problem since there would only be eight months between the end of January and the beginning of September to complete the reorganization process and run through the posting and bumping process.