Public board ready for school year despite labour concerns 0
Roger Clarke, director of education, public school board
Renfrew County's public school board is preparing to welcome students, teachers and support staff back to school next week despite ongoing labour negotiations.
Roger Clarke, director of education for the Renfrew County District School Board, is aware of the negotiations between the provincial government, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario and Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation and is monitoring the situation as it will have an impact on what happens at the local level, he said following Monday night's board meeting.
It will be business as usual Sept. 4 as classes begin at all 31 public schools in the county.
“We are excited about the start of school and this is a great time of year,” the director said.
Negotiations with local teachers' unions are scheduled for September and October, but Mr. Clarke anticipates the provincial legislation, which is expected to impose wage freezes and benefit cuts on teachers across Ontario, will provide direction at the local level as to where the board should focus its energies at the bargaining table.
“We have great employees in Renfrew County and we want to continue to work with our folks,” he said.
He explained provincial government sets the financial guidelines local boards must adhere to and structure budgets around as far as funding programs.
On Monday legislation was introduced by the minority government that would force new contracts on teachers and school workers, as well as give the Liberals the power to ban lockouts and strikes for at least two years.
Tina Peplinskie is Daily Observer multimedia journalist