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BC Teachers Federation representatives and the BC Public School Employers Association have ratified a framework deal which sets up contract talks.
BCTF President Susan Lambert says the framework deal includes a facilitator to aid negotiations, as well as a timeline.
"It will mean a positive start to bargaining which we are obliged to enter into this spring."
Lambert also questions why the government chose this week to release its white paper proposing a 10-year deal, calling it a 'monkey wrench into the gears.'
Meanwhile, the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils is welcoming news the two sides ratified the framework.
President Terry Berting says this is something to build on, and he's looking forward to more good news.
Berting was asked whether this gives some optimism that a new agreement can be reached before the end of the current contract.
"It does. Yes, it's baby steps and I'm not sure what's really going to happen in the future. But the big difference here was this was the two parties reaching an agreement quietly by themselves, without being forced into anything."
Ratification of the deal means bargaining starts on February 4th and will have the help of a facilitator.
The sides will have to exchange proposals by March 1st.
The current agreement runs out June 30th.