The Central Okanagan School District has adopted a calendar for the 2018-19 school year that takes money out of the pockets of unionized school support staff.
As part of the calendar, there will be a two week spring break that will save the school district $566,000 in operating costs.
But a big part of that savings is generated from a loss of wages for a second week of spring break which Canadian Union of Public Employees local 3523 has no opportunity to recoup during the 10-month school year.
“CUPE is well aware that the majority of our members who respond to surveys and questionnaires favour the two-week break. However, there are many 10-month employees who are single parents and work two or more jobs to support their families,” stated CUPE Local 3523 president David Tether in a letter to the school board.
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“When their children are not in school, parents may be unable to cover the cost of childcare so they can work elsewhere. Many of our 10-month employees are hesitant to voice their opinion about the extra week of spring break as it is popular with teachers, management and 12-month employees.”
Tether noted some school districts add extra minutes to each working day throughout the school year to 10-month employees’ hours, allowing them to bank the extra time to cover the extra week of spring break.
While the board took no action on Tether’s letter, trustee Lee Mossman said was disappointed to see some staff financially suffer from the two-week spring break.
“There must be better ways of allocating funding so that doesn’t happen. It is disappointing for anyone who faces a lost week of wages,” he said.
Trustee Rolli Cacchioni noted the new NDP government is currently carrying out a province-wide review of education funding in which Mossman’s concerns could be addressed.
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