No increases for teachers

I have read with interest Vikki Hopes’ article “Higher wages, better benefits” (News, Sept. 1) and your excellent editorial, “Living in the real world,” and I am wondering if your newspaper provides the Abbotsford District Teachers’ Association (ADTA) executive – and every teacher in Abbotsford School District for that matter – with a free copy of your outstanding community newspaper.

I have read with interest Vikki Hopes’ article “Higher wages, better benefits” (News, Sept. 1) and your excellent editorial, “Living in the real world,” and I am wondering if your newspaper provides the Abbotsford District Teachers’ Association (ADTA) executive – and every teacher in Abbotsford School District for that matter – with a free copy of your outstanding community newspaper.

I hope that Mr. Jeff Dunton will take the time to read your editorial at the ADTA meetings to be held on Sept. 6 and 7 (the first and second days of the new school year).

And, it might be to his advantage to read the Ministry of Finance’s “Debt Summary – Budget and Fiscal Plan 2011/12 to 2013/14,” as well as Premier Clark’s latest comments on the philosophical/ideological direction that she wants to take the province during the next two years – creating jobs to address the 180,000 people in B.C. who are out of work.

That will be a hard task for her in light of the slow-down in the Canadian economy, and the province’s current $47-billion debt that is projected to increase to $60 billion by 2013/14.

On top of that, the province is expected to be borrowing $9 billion in the next fiscal year (2011/12), $6.6 billion for 2012/13 and $6 billion for 2013/14.

And we have not even addressed the issue of the annual deficit that the province will bear in the year ahead, let alone the impact of the changeover from HST to PST.

From that information, it is quite easy to deduce that there will be no increases for public sector employees, despite the BCTF desire to seek parity with teachers across the country and have localized input into teacher working conditions.

There will be no increase in bereavement leave nor will 26 weeks off at full pay be forthcoming for compassionate care for any reason.

And, please, could we use more succinct English to describe what the teachers will be doing.

It is not “job action,” it is “role reduction,” and that will be noticed by students and within a short period of time by parents.

But, by the November municipal elections, it will be noticed by the taxpaying electorate, who are astounded to find that a teacher with five years experience is earning $75,000 when the median family income in B.C. is nearly $10,000 less.

It is time, Mr. Dunton, the ADTA and teachers throughout the province, to address the challenges that will be forthcoming in the next three years and to learn to do the best that can be done with what is at hand, and wait for more prosperous times before asking for more.

 

G.E. MacDonell