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Schools expected to open Monday in Abbotsford

Teachers across the province vote strongly in favour of ending strike
Striking teachers vote strongly in favour of a six-year agreement.

B.C. teachers have voted strongly in favour of ending their strike and returning to work next week, meaning Abbotsford schools will likely open their doors on Monday.

B.C. Teachers' Federation members voted 86 per cent in favour of a six-year agreement negotiated with the help of mediator Vince Ready this week.

A letter from Abbotsford superintendent Kevin Godden written on Wednesday said if the deal was ratified, then schools were expected to be ready on Monday.

The Monday will be a shortened first day with regular instruction starting on Tuesday.

The letter notes that parents should check school websites and posted notices for school-specific schedules. The district will also maintain its gradual kindergarten entry timelines.

"We want to return to the traditional routines of schooling with as little disruption as possible, however we might see some need for school re-organization as we get underway, especially at the secondary level."

The district is still waiting to hear from the province about the nature of the school year, including dates for provincial exams.

"I'm happy with this deal," said BCTF president Jim Iker. It gives the province's 40,000 teachers a raise of 7.25 per cent over six years, improvements to benefits and a fund to hire hundreds of new teachers each year.

Education Minister Peter Fassbender congratulated teachers on the settlement, which ends a bitter strike that shut schools for two weeks in June and another three weeks this fall.

"We can now focus on the path forward," Fassbender said. "This long-term agreement is an historic opportunity to work together for students – to enhance their education experience and to support their achievements."

Premier Christy Clark added her thanks on Twitter.

"This is a fair, affordable deal that will let us focus on putting students first," Clark said.