School District 20 – Plan to cover wage increases still under wraps

“The savings plan is not written in stone,” said Darrel Ganzert. “We didn’t want to needlessly concern people in the education system.”

One question went unanswered during the School District 20 board meeting on Monday in Trail.

Andy Davidoff, president of the Kootenay Columbia Teachers Union (KCTU), posed a question regarding the board’s plan regarding funding the government negotiated wage increase for SD 20 non-teaching Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) members.

It was deferred by board chair, Darrel Ganzert, for later discussion.

“The savings plan is not written in stone,” said Ganzert. “We didn’t want to needlessly concern people in the education system.”

Davidoff later expressed his frustration at the lack of response to his questions to the future funding issue.

“The government downloaded the CUPE wage settlement onto the local boards,” he said. “But we want to know where they’re cutting and why is it a secret.”

The Provincial Framework Agreement was reached between provincial government negotiators and CUPE non-teaching education workers which committed local school boards to provide for a 1 percent retroactive wage increase from July 1, 2012, as well as an additional 2 per cent on Feb. 1, 2014, and 0.5 per cent on May 1, 2014 with no increase to their existing funding from the province.

School districts around B.C. were required to provide budgets funding the wage increases for the current year by mid-October and complete plans to fund the remainder of the contract in December.

“We provided the government with a long term plan. Some one-time savings, some long term. Things like savings on our telephone networks,” said Ganzert.

“But to find long term savings when 89 per cent of the budget goes to wages and benefits, it’s impossible not to look at that.

“The reason we haven’t said anything is nothing is finalized yet. Rather than striking fear into the hearts of staff we wanted to wait until the budget is finalized. Until we know exactly where it’s going we’re not releasing any speculation,” Ganzert explained.

Although Davidoff’s primary focus is on protecting the interests of his local’s membership he acknowledged the position of local boards in finding the funding to maintain educational standards.

“The government told boards to prepare savings plans without cutting back on core services but where can they cut?” said Davidoff.

“I’m not blaming the local board. Educational Assistant replacement issues and protocols are the board’s responsibilities but with the budget issues, the board isn’t doing this intentionally.”

A recent all-party committee established by the B.C. Government sought input in communities around the province to determine budget priorities in a variety of areas of government programs and responsibilities.

The committee, which was in Trail Oct. 1 seeking input, released its findings Nov. 7, including numerous recommendations on ensuring adequate funding on the province’s education system.

“The government is apparently bringing changes in February to the education system legislation,” said Ganzert. “I’m assuming this will include the Clarke government’s “Long Term Peace” plans for coming up with a long-term agreement with the teacher’s union and drafting legislation. What that looks like, nobody knows. The recent all-party finance committee report, which was dominated by Liberals, all agreed that education was under funded and we’re seeing it affecting facilities, students…. The government should consider increasing funding to education but I guess time will tell.”

Just Posted

Stolen sax, sheet music, impacts Trail big-band and after school band

Anyone with information is urged to call the Trail RCMP detachment at 250.364.2566

Extensive road repair nears completion in Fruitvale

The scope of work includes new water and sewer service connections as well as road resurfacing

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

Christmas blooms in downtown Trail

The Artisan Craft Co-op recently celebrated its 30th anniversary in downtown Trail

Community invited to check out mining trade show in Trail

Trade show free and open public on Wednesday and Thursday in the Trail Memorial Centre

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

B.C. woman allegedly threatens to rip out intestines of American man

A Kamloops-area woman is accused of harassing and threatening to disembowel an American man

B.C. model looks a lot like expanded taxi industry, ride-hailing group says

Ridesharing Now for BC says it had hoped the bill would be more customer-driven like in other cities

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Most Read