November 11, 2019
To the Hon. Rob Fleming, Minister of Education,
The parents and children of School District #63 are in an untenable situation. The labour disruption in our District is having a lasting and damaging impact on our school community, our families and our children.
We are about to begin the 3rd week of school closures. Our high school students are under tremendous anxiety and stress as they weigh the potential long term consequences of lost instruction time. Our families are spent. They have exhausted their financial, social and emotional resources. COPACS is hearing accouncts of families being unable to pay rent as a direct result of the unforeseen incurred costs of finding childcare. We are placing our children and their caregivers in harm's way.
We the parents, caregivers and students of SD #63 need solutions to the issues challenging our district, not disruption and discord. Our children need to be back in school. They deserve and require an education that meets their needs. An education system that is adequately resourced and staffed.
It is clearly evident that the District and CUPE 441 do not have the tools and resources within the confines of the Provincial Framework Agreement to address the unique situation found in Saanich. Since the support workers in Saanich rejected the Districts offer last week, negotiations have not resumed. The Union not willing to sit down until something new is brought to the table to address wage parity, and the District feeling it can’t offer anything different than it has already.
We are at an impasse. Our children, families and school communities are suffering. We cannot continue down this path any longer. Now is the time for you and your colleagues in caucus to acknowledge our plight and find a solution that puts our children first. Get our children back in school. Help our Board compensate sorely needed and important support staff in a fair and competitive way.
Sincerely, yours for the children…
James Taylor, 2nd Vice President
Confederation of Parents’ Advisory Councils of Saanich