Teachers in limbo waiting for jobs

Rather than a time of rest, this summer has become one of anxious waiting for some teachers in the district impacted by school closures.

Rather than a time of rest, this summer has become one of anxious waiting for some teachers in the district impacted by school closures.

Under the memorandum of agreement which was implemented to make the reconfiguration of schools smoother, Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers’ Association president Murray Helmer says some full time teachers have not yet found full-time jobs.

He says the relatively new memorandum of agreement designed to smooth the way for the reconfiguration of the schools allows for very little bumping. Instead teachers are placed through a series of rounds of job postings.

“Most teachers have been placed under this process, but not all of them have been able to secure full-time employment,” Helmer says.

“The staff members of the closed schools, many of whom have a lot of seniority with the district, were not all successful in remaining full-time employees, which has been problematic.

“They remain hopeful that new postings will arise before the new school year gets underway, but they must continue to access the board office website to know whether new postings come out or not, which definitely makes it harder to enjoy the summer in a carefree way.”

And while the board has hired a crew for the summer to do the moving, he says teachers are responsible for boxing up their private belongings and setting up their  new classrooms.

“The physical movement of materials from worksite to worksite is continuing, and it will take quite a while for relocating teachers to have their materials organized for the coming year, a task they will have to spend a part of their summer doing,” Helmer says.

In the Williams Lake area Kwaleen and Glendale elementary schools are closing. Kwaleen students are moving to Chilcotin Road elementary and Glendale students are moving to Cataline elementary (year-round program) and Nesika elementary (French immersion).

Superintendent Mark Thiessen is on holidays but says by e-mail that he will have an update on the reconfiguration progress within the next week or so when he gets back.

Not all went smoothly this spring within the CCTA either.

Joan Erb stepped down as president at the May annual general meeting and the teachers elected Rob Taylor as her replacement.

On July 10 Helmer says Taylor was hired as director of human resources in the board office, replacing Mark Wintjes, and leaving the CCTA presidency vacant.

“The CCTA Constitution dictates that any vacancies that arise on the CCTA executive will be filled by the executive committee, and on July 12, we held an emergency meeting where I was appointed to the role of president for the 2013-2014 school year,” Helmer says.

“I had previously filled that role for eight years, from 1995-2003, so was likely the most experienced person for the job.

“I also hold the position of local rep to the BCTF, which I was elected to at our May AGM.”

As for the provincial vote held at the end of June, Helmer says that more than 90 per cent of teachers voted to support the BCTF bargaining team in their effort to continue to negotiate a collective agreement with BCPSEA.

“The vote resulted in the provincial government backing away (for the time being) from its intention to impose a 10 year contract on teachers, as well as having them promise not to legislate such a contract over the summer.”

Helmer says bargaining is continuing between the two bargaining units in an effort to reach a negotiated settlement.

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