KELOWNA, B.C. – In an update to parents and the community at large, the Superintendent of the Central Okanagan School District has expressed profound regret that school has not begun on schedule.
“It is with profound regret that we are unable to start the school year as we would normally expect to,” states Hugh Gloster in a letter addressed to parents/ guardians and community members and issued September 2nd.
But Gloster says SD #23 remains hopeful an agreement between teachers and the provincial government can be reached in the near future.
“We look forward to the time when we can welcome all of our staff, students and parents back to our schools, as none of us want to see the current situation continue,” says Gloster.
He goes on to ask parents to continue to make alternate arrangements for the care of children until further notice.
While principals and vice-principals are the only staff set up in schools around the Central Okanagan while the labour dispute continues, Gloster asks that questions be directed to schools through email, “as it may be impractical for them to answer their switchboards”.
To help parents and guardians access the $40 from the provincial government to assist with child care for public school students 12 and under, Gloster notes the student’s Personal Education Number (PEN) is found on a recent report card.
Preschools that operate inside public schools, StrongStart Centres, after-school care programs and evening rentals will not be operating during the duration of the strike. School fields may be accessed after normal school hours, according to the memo, but states this could change in the future if the School District is unable to send maintenance crews in the future.
Refunds for school space rentals affected by the strike will be reviewed after the dispute, says Gloster.
Parents and students rallied Tuesday morning in front of Premier Christy Clark’s constituency office.
Labour unions are scheduled to rally at the West Kelowna office in support of teachers Wednesday at 4 p.m.