Too soon to say when Langley schools re-open

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 about the new deal hammered out with the BC Teachers Federation early this morning.

“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 classroom composition.

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

She thanked all sides involved, particularly parents and students.

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

She lauded BC Teachers Federation Jim Iker for showing leadership to work out a negotiated settlement that will help both sides move past the dysfunctional relationship.

“We hope it will be ratified by members,” Clark said.

If that’s the case, kids across the province can be back in school as early as Monday.

“It’s a real game changer for education in the long term,” according to Clark.

Early Tuesday, Fassbender called Iker to thank him.

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

That includes working out composition

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

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

The deal does allow the two sides to settle outstanding grievances but Clark didn’t get specific.

Teachers and school trustees get to see the deal starting Tuesday afternoon and the teacher vote is Thursday. The Langley School District said it will post information about resumption of school as soon as it becomes available.

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