Trail council opens up education dialogue in wake of Bill 22

Trail is working on re-establishing a liaison with School District 20’s board of trustees to encourage regular dialogue.

Trail council is making its voice heard on the future of education.

Mayor Dieter Bogs says the city is working on re-establishing a liaison with School District 20’s board of trustees to encourage regular dialogue.

This after Bill 22 passed last week. The back-to-work legislation outlaws any further job action by teachers until Aug. 31 and calls for the appointment of a mediator, though wage demands will not be dealt with during mediation.

“We’re in a situation now where the school boards really can’t do their jobs and the union representatives really can’t do their jobs because we have the government imposing a contract,” said councillor Robert Cacchioni, city advisory of education and a former teacher for 40 years. “What kind of a process have we deteriorated to in Western democracy when we have a mediator coming in who has predetermined conditions?”

The province is standing firm on a net-zero wage mandate but Cacchioni considers the nine years of net-zero in the last 17 as an approximate 26 per cent cut. He said the disparity between neighbouring provinces like Alberta is demoralizing to teachers in this province.

“What you have now are aspiring young teachers fully eager and they get discouraged very rapidly and then they quit,” he said, noting that 50 per cent of graduates quit after three years of teaching.

Councillor Gord DeRosa said Greater Trail residents don’t have to look much further then Charles Bailey Theatre, which used to be a junior high school auditorium, to see how much was invested in education at one point.

“When you walk in that facility it instills upon you an effort to succeed and to think now that we’re putting children in trailers,” he said. “We’ve lost our focus here somewhere. If you don’t educate children, don’t look to the future for any kind of development.”