Newly-elected board of education trustees got down to business during their first meeting, a marathon session that ran late into the night Jan. 16. Here are some of the evening’s highlights.
No raises for trustees
Considering the current job action, trustees voted unanimously in favour of not accepting a raise, as is generally standard practice at the outset of each three-year term on the board.
Their annual salaries remain at $17,424 per year in remuneration, with stipends of $3,000 and $1,500, respectively, for the chair and vice-chair.
Local bargaining update
There could be some movement, at least at the local level, during an otherwise stagnant bargaining process in Greater Victoria.
Trustees agreed to put new dates for bargaining local issues forward to the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association. The GVTA will meet after the News press deadline on Jan. 24 and decide at that time if it would like to discuss the local issues, which exclude all provincially bargained items such as salaries and class size and composition.
“We’re very disappointed,” said Bénula Giasson, first vice president of the association. “We’d like to speak for, and negotiate some items in Appendix 1 (provincially-bargained issues) … The bargaining team will look at this and get guidance from the members.”
Board chair, Peg Orcherton remains optimistic progress will be made.
“I am hopeful that the GVTA will see that if we can at least bargain our local issues, some success has been done between the two parties,” Orcherton said. “I am hopeful that we’ll be able to say that we are working together to at least achieve success within the local area.”
It’s that time of year again. The controversial Foundation Skills Assessment test is back in classrooms across B.C. through until the end of February. While the constraints of time and inclement weather last week caused the board meeting to end before trustees had a chance to vote on the motion, they will soon decide whether or not to follow the Vancouver School Board’s initiative by sending a letter out to parents of students eligible for the FSAs.
The Vancouver School Board’s letter explained the writing, numeracy and reading comprehension test, as well as how parents could streamline the process of opting their child out of the process. As of press time, the board had not yet set a date to discuss the matter prior to the next regular board meeting scheduled for Feb. 20.