Induction and an update


One of the long traditions we have in our Federation is the Induction ceremony. It is a way to welcome new teachers into the profession and the Federation.  It has been two years since we have had an induction ceremony.  So, we are planning an Induction ceremony and a (very brief) General meeting at the Quatse Hatchery meeting facility on Tuesday October 23rd at 5:00p.m. The event will be catered and you will be able to get a light supper.  We are fortunate that Jim Iker, BCTF 1st Vice President, will be able to join us and welcome new teachers to our profession.

As an extra enticement, teachers being inducted, who are able to attend, will receive a free registration of the PSA of their choice.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come.  Come and have supper and welcome our new colleagues to our profession.

LIF funds and training money

Last June we negotiated with the district how the Learning Improvement Fund would be spent. There was $203,000 to be spent on teaching positions and training and support.  The money was meant to be over and above the existing staffing levels.  We certainly did not achieve everything we set out to, however most of the money went to teaching positions.  The positions have all been posted and filled at this point.

The amount of money assigned to the positions at each school was based on the average cost of a teacher in our district (including benefits) – about $97,000.  As it happened the actual costs of filling each position tended to be lower than the budgeted figure.  The teachers who filled the positions were mostly at the beginning stages of the salary grid.  This has resulted in a difference between what was budgeted and what will actually be spent on staffing the position.   The LIF fund is very much a discrete fund and is the result of the government trying to satisfy the court ruling that found they had violated our charter rights by stripping our contracts in 2002.

There is a requirement that the district submit an accounting of the money to the ministry by the end of October.  There is a provision that asks if the teachers’ union is in agreement.  At our Rep. Assembly last week we passed a motion that requires continued research into how the fund has been spent.  The District has agreed to discuss how the money in the fund is managed.  More information to follow….

School Board meeting

The School Board met at their regular monthly meeting last night, and it was every bit as riveting as one might imagine.  However, the Board did approve all of the school plans for the 2102 – 3013 school year.  These should all be on the District web site very soon.  It would be interesting to know how broadly these plans were a part of a staff consultation.

My comments to the Board at last night’s meeting focused on the role of collaboration and consultation.  I noted how effective consultation and collaboration can be in our district and with school staffs.  Consultation takes time and involves listening and compromise.  The results are a consensus of opinion, staff ‘buy-in’, very positive collective action and strong leadership.  I noted that there are a number of strong examples of this process within our district.

However, the process is open to misunderstanding.  It is not a means to push and enforce some pre-existing agenda. That would be best referred to as ‘faux consultation’.  ‘Faux consultation’ should not be confused with leadership – the results will be counter-productive and divisive. Perhaps, as important, people will feel their opinion is of little or no value, and withdraw from active participation.  Our hope there is no confusion between the two very different approaches.

 Bargaining survey

 And now for something completely different – Bargaining!  You may remember we were somewhat involved with this last year.   Well, our current agreement expires in June 2013, so we now get to begin the process again.   Mind you, there is that little incidental occurring in May referred to as a Provincial election.  It is our fervent hope that one will have a considerable impact on the other.

We hope to have an on-line survey out to you in the next few days.  It would be very helpful if you could take a few minutes and complete it.  The results will help direct our discussions at the provincial bargaining conference in November.


Thanks folks,


Fred Robertson
Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association