Langley schools don’t open until teacher contract ratified

The Langley School District is still finalizing plans on when the kids are back in class.

The district sent out a letter Tuesday telling parents that pickets remain at schools until teachers ratify the proposed contract. The vote is today, Sept. 18.

“As soon as this information becomes available, it will be shared with our community,” wrote superintendent Suzanne Hoffman. “Parents, staff and students have been anxiously awaiting the news of movement towards an agreement and I know all are eager to be back in schools.”

People are advised to keep track of the district website, as well as its social media for updates. The Langley Advance post details online when available.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark said teachers will get a “fair” wage increase that won’t cause the province to go into debt.

On Tuesday afternoon she and Education Minister Peter Fassbender spoke.

“We have reached an historic six year agreement with teachers,” Clark said.

She said that will provide for some years of labour peace, versus the old model of almost constant negotiation and conflict.

She said it will give both sides “five years in which we can sit and talk.”

“A negotiated settlement was really important because it allows us to reset that dysfunctional relationship,” Clark noted.

The government would not provide specifics on what’s in the new deal because “trustees and teachers need to see it and teachers need to vote on it,” the Premier said.

“We did find a way to give teachers a fair raise,” Clark said.

The deal with also provide for more teaching supports and improved class composition.

“We found a way to do it without raising taxes and cutting services and going into deficit,” she said.

She thanked all sides, particularly parents and students.

“They had the patience to allow this dispute to be settled in a negotiated settlement,” she said.

“The key for me now is how to we move ahead,” Fassbender said.

In response to questions, Clark explained that the deal does not alter the court issues.

“The court case is going to continue,” she said.

BC Teachers Federation president Jim Iker said the union executive is recommending members ratify the deal.

“It was a tough series of negotiations,” he said.

Iker thanked all those who supported teachers and also thanked his members.

“You stood up for what you believe in,” he said to teachers. “You stood up for your rights. Be proud that your effort made a real difference.”

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