LETTER: Board of education represented by BCSPEA

Board believes solution to teachers' strike is at negotiating table

An open letter from the Abbotsford Board of Education to our Community:

The Abbotsford Board of Education acknowledges the negative impact in our district and across the province as a result of the current impasse in the labour dispute between the British Columbia Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA) and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).  It has been widely felt in our community where high standards of education are the prevailing norm.

We are deeply concerned with the impact job action is having on our students, their families, our staff, and the community at large.  We have tremendous respect for the work of our teachers and support staff, and recognize the critical role they play in the education of our students.

We have heard from community members and staff about the effect the current job action is having on their lives and the pressure this uncertainty has created. We understand the frustrations and are concerned for all those affected by this situation. This disruption is especially unsettling when there appears to be no solution in sight.

Our Board has been asked about our role in the dispute and what we have done in support of reaching a positive resolution.  As employers, Boards of Education are legally represented by BCPSEA (our authorized bargaining agent). This structure is not unlike our local teachers ADTA (Abbotsford District Teachers Association) who are represented by the BCTF at the provincial level.

The Abbotsford Board of Education believes a resolution to the current labour dispute would best be resolved through negotiations at the bargaining table.  We maintain our statutory duty during labour disputes and respect the work of BCPSEA (our authorized bargaining agent) in labour negotiations.  We are in regular and ongoing communication with both BCPSEA and BCSTA (British Columbia School Trustee Association) as we navigate the current labour negotiations with the ultimate goal of immediate resolution.

Schools are far more than places of learning to our children and the community. The places we call school are central to the health and well-being of our society. It remains our hope for all concerned that we can get back to providing the world class education that has been the hallmark of our district.

On behalf of the Abbotsford Board of Education

Ms. Cindy Schafer

Board Chair