Board of education delays decision on two-week spring break

Abbotsford trustees want more information on changes to the School Act, following the implementation of Bill 22.

Abbotsford school district superintendent Kevin Godden

Abbotsford school district superintendent Kevin Godden

A vote on the proposed 2013 two-week spring break in Abbotsford has been delayed due to changes in the B.C. School Act.

The board of education was set to vote on the two-week holiday at its public meeting on Monday night. But district superintendent Kevin Godden said it’s not yet clear how the school calendar issue and the process that has been followed to date will be affected.

Under the School Act, districts have been required to consult the public whenever they want to approve a spring break that differs from the one-week standard established by the Ministry of Education.

Trustees were permitted to “void” a provision of teachers’ collective agreements that laid out working conditions, such as weekly instructional hours and the length of the school day, which are based on a one-week break.

Districts that have approved a two-week vacation have relied on that portion of the School Act to go outside of the collective agreement and add extra minutes on to each school day to compensate for the additional days off.

However, Bill 22 – legislation recently introduced to impose a six-month cooling-off period in the ongoing dispute between teachers and their employer – has repealed that section.

Hugh Finlayson, CEO of the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), said this means the School Act no longer automatically overrides teachers’ contract provisions when the school calendar is changed from the ministry standard.

He said BCPSEA is already dealing with two local teacher union grievances – in Greater Victoria and Nanaimo – on the details of calendar changes.

Those grievances relate to pay and benefit agreements based on each teaching day. Going to a two-week spring break would result in fewer teaching days, with each remaining day extended by a few minutes.

Jeff Dunton, president of the Abbotsford District Teachers’ Association, said in the past teachers have been consulted on the issue but, ultimately, their views could have been overstepped.

He said the changes in the legislation now require districts to negotiate any calendar decisions with teachers. He said he will arrange a meeting with district staff, likely sometime this week, to discuss any concerns.

Among them is compensation for the district’s 150 on-call teachers, who Dunton said are left with five fewer days of potential work due to the extra week of vacation.

Otherwise, he does not anticipate much conflict on the issue.

“Generally, teachers are in favour of a two-week break – that it does allow some time to recoup,” he said.

Abbotsford has had a two-week spring break for several years, and trustees faced huge public backlash in 2006 and 2010 when they tried to return to a one-week holiday. Last year, they also faced opposition when they attempted to move the dates of the vacation.

Next year’s spring break was proposed to run the weeks of March 18 and 22.

The board of education must make a final decision by May 26.

Just Posted

An apartment building and townhouse project has been proposed at 2236 McCallum Rd. in Abbotsford. The development was given third reading by city council on June 14. (City of Abbotsford)
Apartment-and-townhouse project planned on McCallum Road in Abbotsford

Development across from old hospital site consists of 174 suites and 10 townhouses

Adam Hobbs went missing from a Langley work site on Monday, June 14 and may have gone to Vancouver. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Family, RCMP seek Abbotsford man missing from Langley job site

Adam Hobbs lives in Abbotsford and is a minor hockey referee

Police were on scene Monday afternoon (June 14) in the area of George Ferguson Way and Ware Street. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Police called out after reports of possible home invasion in Abbotsford

Incident on Monday afternoon at George Ferugson Way and Ware Street

Migrating sockeye in the Fraser River August 7, 2007. (Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
First Nations, commercial, and recreational harvesters join forces to save Fraser River fish

‘We have to work together to rebuild these stocks while there is still time,’ says delegate

The Vancouver Canucks have polled season ticket holders on team name options for the new Abbotsford AHL team.
Vancouver Canucks poll season tickets holders on Abbotsford AHL team name

List asks fans to rank three out of 10 options, also if Abbotsford or Fraser Valley should be used

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read