Online petition urges provincial government to settle with teachers

Julia Pante will deliver the petition to Premier Christy Clark. Protect Public Education Now

VANCOUVER, B.C. — A group of concerned citizens are taking to social media to express their worries about the current state of public education in the province.

An online petition, organized by a group called Protect Public Education Now has collected over 1,400 signatures, urging Premier Christy Clark to settle with BC teachers.

“Our goal was to deliver the petition once we reached 1000 signatures. We hit that mark on Friday, and over the weekend the number have grown to almost 1,500,” said Marlene Rodgers, of Protection Public Education Now, in a statement.

Organizers say the first batch of signatures will be delivered to the Premier’s office on July 14, by grade eight student Julia Pante.

On July 2 we reported talks between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government had broken down.

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The two groups are close on salary negotiations, but differ when it comes to factors such as special education assistants, more counsellors and additional resources for psychological testing for students. Teachers say they need these things to help them with students who need specialized attention.

The government has been adamant that they do not want to slip into a deficit and what the BCTF is asking for will cost too much money.

Last week, the Vancouver School Board urged both sides to use binding arbitration to settle the matter.

With neither party at the bargaining table, it’s not clear when school will start in the fall.

–With files from Amy Judd and Peter Meiszner.

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