LETTER: Terrible optics in time of labour dispute

Abbotsford trustees voted to give next board a raise

At the recent Abbotsford school board meeting, I was appalled to witness the lowest level of disrespect and dereliction of duty by Trustees I could ever have imagined.

In an act that can only be described as self-serving and willfully ignorant of the current political situation, Trustees voted the next Board – some of whom will surely be themselves when they are reelected – a 3% ($500) raise.

Next, I read in the June 19th Abby News that trustees had said “they can’t stop the process and the policy because there’s labour activity” and “I can assure you that no one does it for the money”.  I beg your pardon??  Of course, the process can be stopped at any time, and of course, they do it for the money; if it isn’t for the money, why accept a raise? Cindy Shafer even had the temerity to say, “It’s not like we were looking for 12 per cent.” Unbelievable.

Theirs is a culture of entitlement, and trustees are delusional if they think teachers wouldn’t be upset at witnessing the them vote themselves a raise at the same time as teachers are fighting for better conditions for students, and a raise in salary which barely meets the cost of living increase. These are terrible optics in a time of labour dispute within their own district.  Their efforts would be better spent on writing letters of support for their local teaching staff, as so many neighbouring districts are doing.  Instead, Abbotsford trustees choose not only to sit on their hands, but also to give themselves more money to do so!

Worst of all was the letter published by this fine newspaper where G.E. MacDonell insults an educator in this city by calling him “benignly ignorant” for standing up for fair classroom conditions for his students, and making a very brave and symbolic gesture of ripping up his coach’s card.  This was insult to injury, and I am ashamed to be a taxpayer in this city.  We should be championing those who stand up for public education and ensuring that free, quality education exists in our society to help form young minds into future leaders.  Instead, Abbotsford School Trustees, ill-informed folks like McDonell, and now the Abby News are complicit in attacking them.  Way to go, Abbotsford!

Marilyn Morasch