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Cuts to Central Okanagan schools' recess rankle BCTF

Starting next week, school will get out a bit earlier.

In an attempt to effectively manage work loads at the school district, recess will be cancelled throughout the Central Okanagan School District for the duration of the teachers' job action.

"In our school district we have looked at all of the logistics and we have determined that having our exempt staff leave the school board office and go to a school to do a supervision three times a day instead of two, is just too much," said Moyra Baxter, chair of the Central Okanagan School Board.

"These people have full time jobs themselves. Last time when they were going before and after school, it amounted to two hours a day they had to cut out of their day, and that's quite a big percentage to take from people."

BCTF president Jim Iker had a different take on the inconvenience the job action would cause families of school children and district staff.

Calling the measure unnecessary and inappropriate, Iker said Principals, Vice-Principals, and excluded staff are more than capable of supervising the playground for 15 minutes each day.

Ikier contended that supervision was one of the issues addressed at the Labour Relations Board between the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the BCTF. The subsequent Labour Relations Board order states:

“With respect to any before/after school, recess or noon hour supervision normally provided by teachers, before/after school supervision related only to bus drop off and pick-up, and recess and noon hour supervision will continue to be provided by teachers subject to the Employer utilizing management and excluded staff to the best extent possible to replace teachers for these activities.” 

The school districts that have cancelled recess have done so because it is inconvenient to principals and management staff. They have not even tried to find coverage as per the order from the Labour Relations Board.

"Teachers’ Stage 1 job action is administrative in nature only. Any recess cancellations falls squarely on the shoulders of school districts unwilling to move their staff around, he said.

"Furthermore, teachers will continue to do previously scheduled voluntary activities. As such, there is no reason for any districts to cancel events, trips, or extra-curricular activities."

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