School District 27’s Board of Education is asking the Ministry of Education for help to mend their relationship with the Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers’ Association (CCTA).
At the end of November, the CCTA passed a motion of non-confidence in the superintendent, secretary-treasurer and the board of school trustees at a special general meeting.
They cited concerns about personnel practices, financial mismanagement and the failure to fully comply with the Supreme Court ruling restoring contractual provisions of class size and composition.
“I don’t think that groups feel valued and feel like they are a part of what happens here,” said Murray Helmer, CCTA president. “The district has what they consider to be a sense of belonging and that is one of their mission statements. They find themselves without a sense of belonging in the district and that is, through every employee group, through every stakeholder group, missing and so I think there has to be some valuing of the contribution of people as well as a better working relationship.”
Following the motion, the Deputy Minister of Education asked Dianne Turner, a ministry official, to assess what was happening in the district, said Helmer. He said Turner is due to return in the new year to continue her assessment and provide a report to the ministry.
“By evidence of what has been happening and unfolding in the last few weeks, I see that we have some communication and relationship challenges,” board chair Tanya Guenther, told Black Press. “What those specifically are I hope we are able to proceed with someone to come in and assist us with identifying where those issues and challenges are.”
In their press release, the Board of Education requests that Turner continue her work, “to assist in developing a plan addressing any communication and relationship challenges in the district.”
In addition, the board passed a motion at an in-camera board meeting Dec. 19 asking the ministry and the BC School Trustees Association for funds to bring in an expert “to assist with resolving conflict, improving communications and improving relationships within the district.”
“I think there are some pieces of relationships that obviously always can be improved. I think we are recognizing that there are some challenges that we want to further investigate and determine where those causes are coming from and where to address them,” said Guenther.
“This is a problem, and if it continues, it will develop deep into a culture of misunderstanding and mistrust. The Board is elected to promote student achievement; teachers are hired for the same. We are all on the same team. It’s time to put our collective best foot forward,” stated Guenther in the release.
She notes that the board works with stakeholders in the form of committees and posting policies for public comment.
“We value that input, we continue to encourage it and seek that out,” she said
“We’re open to whatever needs to happen here to make this a better place for everybody to be working,” Helmer told Black Press. “It will require the changing of a lot of practices that have been in place for a long time here, that are outdated and not effective.”