The Vancouver School Board is scrambling to figure out what teachers and adminstrators can and can’t do under the employer’s partial lock out taking affect Monday.
Trustee Mike Lombardi says the BCPSEA letter is so confusing they are now seeking an urgent legal opinion to analyze and interpret it.
Lombardi says they have also called the BC School Trustees Association.
“We are asking the BCSTA to get an opinion on behalf of school boards across the province on two things. One, the roles responsibilities, and obligations of boards in implementing the lock out notice and secondly an analysis and interpretation of the provisions of the lock out notice and the questions and answers document.”
Lombardi says the need the information as soon as possible.
“The sooner the better. We have put in an urgent request. We just think it is adding to the instability unfortunately because it is a very very unclear document. I am sure we are not the only district going through this.”
Lombardi says they will also reach out to BCPSEA to see if they can provide any clarity.
“In order for boards to function we need clarity. We are a large district with more than 3000 teachers and 110 schools. We can’t have our senior staff fielding questions and trying top provide guidance on something we had no role in creating and no local assistance, understanding, or guidance. So that is what we are trying to do.”
He says Vancouver staff have fielded hundreds of phone calls about the lock out and have few if any answers.
The provincial government’s lead negotiator is firing back the Vancouver School Board and dismissing its complaint the BCPSEA letter is too confusing.
Peter Cameron says BCPSEA is available to answer any and all questions.
“The matter is in hand and getting a legal opinion about the meaning of a letter is just about useless.”
Cameron also had this to say about Mike Lombardi.
“Mike Lombardi is a great guy but he is a former BCTF staff rep and I think he should be standing back from this. I think this is just creating confusion and not helping at all.”
He adds there is just as much confusion and questions about the impact of the rotating teachers strikes on students.
BCPSEA has now posted two question and answer documents over as many days since it issued a letter rolling back teachers wages and placing them under a partial lock out.
Lead negotiator Peter Cameron is asked if they should have sorted all this out before issuing the lock out letter.
“No. The letter and the purpose of the letter and the activities under the letter are really clear in terms of there general process. This is a matter of detail. There is always going to be all kinds of details. Question and answers are just that. When questions come up answers go out and try to deal with it for everybody. It is just a complex situation.”
Schools in Vancouver, Mission, and New Westminster will be behind picket lines Monday as teachers begin four days of rotating strikes.
Below you can listen to raw audio of Peter Cameron’s comments on Mike Lombardi and the Vancouver school trustee firing back