KELOWNA, B.C. – With less than two weeks until the first day of school and no foreseeable end to the labour dispute between B.C. teachers and the provincial government, parents and students are getting reasonably anxious.
“They’re going to be missing school and their education is getting behind,” said one parent on the way to a Kelowna rec centre with her children.
“You think you’d get a longer summer, but in the end you’ll have to have to do more work,” said a group of teens on a break from a water safety course.
The Central Okanagan School District is getting ready to welcome more than 21,500 students, but school hallways may be empty come September 2nd.
“We do need a solution to the labour dispute in order for that to happen,” says Hugh Gloster, Superintendent. “We’re hoping that we’ll have some clearer direction for our parents and our students certainly the following week, so the week before school starts.”
The B.C. Teachers Federation is holding a meeting in Kamloops this weekend to discuss their position.
And while mediator Vince Ready has agreed to get involved, no new talks between the two sides are scheduled.
Both teachers and the province have agreed to a media black out as well.
B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender says he is not interested in a legislated solution to the dispute.
“So what I have said clearly is we are not rushing to legislation: we want a negotiated settlement,” says Fassbender. “My message to teachers and parents is we want to solve this at the table.”