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I just wanted to take another opportunity to update you on the current labour dispute and some ongoing topics of interest. First, please continue to follow the media for news on the latest developments.
Status of Strikes
All schools in Surrey remain behind picket lines and there appears to be no quick end in sight. While the two parties met over the weekend last Saturday and Sunday, there was no resolution. The two parties continue to talk, but it is apparent little progress is being made. Certainly, we appear to be a long way from a negotiated settlement. Unless there is some small miracle, the school year does seem to be all but over with the exception of writing the remaining provincial exams.
We do not need to make any final decision on the status of summer school until well into next week. If teachers are on strike and picket lines are up, there will be no summer school. If there is a decision by the BCTF to let summer school proceed by withdrawing pickets and allowing teachers to work during summer OR if there is a negotiated agreement between the BCTF and BCPSEA, summer school will proceed. We are all prepared and ready to go, but at this point, summer school is looking very tenuous. Some districts have already cancelled summer school. We will wait as late as possible to make that call.
Before we were in full strike, report cards were likely going home although they would be shorter than normal. Under full strike, we cannot produce report cards. The information that we need to produce report cards is in the hands of teachers and they are on strike. The support staff we normally have to help us develop and print report cards are also honouring the picket lines and are not at work.
We do want to draw some closure to the end of the year and I will be sending a district letter home to parents specifically on the topic of student progress. That letter likely will come in the middle of next week.
We are busy supervising exams across the district. Students are writing and, where needed, students are getting the specific help they need from support staff. This is part of an Essential Services Order in our current context so it is legal and permitted. Teachers on the picket lines are providing access to students for exams as no teacher would want students to be prevented from writing their exam.
The BCTF and BCPSEA are at the Labour Relations Board today and are scheduled for Monday on the topic of the entry of final marks for students in grades 10 and 11. We currently have no final marks for these students and this is of course important for their graduation so we will be very interested in that ruling as we prepare for the end of this year and the start of the fall.
I want to remind people of the ways to stay current on issues. Whatever I write is posted to my Twitter account @jordantinney. Please follow me if you wish to receive these updates. You can also follow the school district @Surrey_Schools. Our district website www.surreyschools.ca will also have all current information as it becomes available.
In closing, as I have in previous letters, we wish for a speedy resolution at the bargaining table.
Jordan TinneySuperintendent of Schools/CEO