Members of the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) have voted overwhelmingly to accept the five-year collective agreement reached at the end of June. The ratification vote passed by 93.4% with a total of 25,129 teachers casting ballots and 23,468 voting yes.
BCTF President Jinny Sims says the settlement offers increased stability in the public education system and allows teachers to focus on the joy of teaching and learning. Noting that everyone involved in public education will benefit from the agreement, Sims credits the determination and courage of BCTF members with the gains that were made, and points out teachers received overwhelming support from parents and communities.
Sims stated that teachers did not get everything they wanted or deserved, but they did make significant gains. "It shows respect for BC teachers and it offers fair compensation, and it will help BC attract and retain quality teachers.
Two very difficult rounds of bargaining were concluded within the last school year. This ratification vote allows teachers and the province's youth, to look ahead with a degree of optimism. However, there is still work to be done. "Through Bill 33, the government acknowledged the need to address class size and composition. However, there has been no additional funding provided to school boards to ensure that the provisions of the legislation can be fully implemented," says Sims.
Teachers will continue to advocate for improvements in class size, class composition, and support for students with special needs, and Sims promises that the Federation will continue to press for full funding for Bill 33.
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For more information, contact Yvonne Eamor, BCTF media relations officer, at 604-871-1881 (office) or 604-340-1959 (cell).