After an extended summer break, kids and teens could finally be filing into schools in Surrey and Delta Monday if a tentative agreement with teachers is ratified by union members and school trustees today and tomorrow.
B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) members were scheduled to vote today (Thursday) on a proposed six-year deal that was struck early Tuesday morning after marathon negotiations with the aid of mediator Vince Ready.
Boards of education have been asked to complete their ratification votes by Friday.
Surrey had a professional development day scheduled for Monday, but has decided to reschedule it so school can get rolling.
As would normally have happened three weeks ago when school was to start Sept. 2, the first day back will be a partial day as enrolment is set and classes are sorted. Parents can check individual school websites for start times if school resumes Monday. Tuesday would mark the first full day, except for kindergarten students, who begin school on a gradual entry schedule.
“We’re ready to hit the ground running,” said Surrey School District communications manager Doug Strachan. “There might be a few bumps as we get things going again… but we’re anxious to welcome students back, teachers as well, and get on with the school year.”
Acceptance of the teachers’ deal would mark the end of a bitter strike that cancelled school at the end of June and delayed the September start by three weeks.
Education Minister Peter Fassbender said a plan is being developed to make up missed instructional days, which could involve rescheduling Christmas holidays, spring break or adding days to the end of the school year. Every student’s education will be “kept whole,” particularly senior high school students looking ahead to post-secondary studies, he said.
In a letter Wednesday to Surrey parents, school Supt. Jordan Tinney said it was “unlikely” the length of the school day would be adjusted.
“Surrey already has extended days where overcrowding in some schools makes this a necessity,” he wrote, referring to schools such as Earl Marriott and Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.
He also indicated no decision has been made about reducing the scheduled two-week spring break to one week.
“When we publish our long range calendar, people make plans, book tickets and count on our schedule,” Tinney said, adding the district is waiting to hear from the education ministry about any adjustments to instructional time.