Pitt Meadows secondary planning to open

Principal Mike Keenan expects first day of classes to be Sept. 2.

A Pitt Meadows high school principal is optimistic that classes will begin on time, although B.C.’s teachers and government appear to be no closer to reaching a deal.

In a newsletter to parents and students published Wednesday, Mike Keenan indicated Pitt Meadows secondary is ready to open its doors.

“This entire series of events has not been easy on anyone, yet I expect to see things settled soon and I am excited about getting a new school year underway,” wrote Keenan.

The school website indicates the school office will be open for registration on Monday.

It also notes Sept. 2 noted as the “first day for students.”

Keenan revealed that students would be returning to a building that’s been “polished top to bottom” by hard-working custodial crews.

“On Sept. 2, students will need to come in to school for the following time, attendance is mandatory,” the newsletter said.

It went on to list when each grade needs to arrive for a short assembly and pick up their timetables.

“I am remaining positive and planning to open on schedule,” Keenan said in an e-mail.

Unlike Keenan, the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is being more cautious about the prospect of school restarting on time.

“We’re hopeful that the dispute will be resolved in time for the beginning of the school year and are preparing for this start,” said Irena Pochop, SD42 manager of communications.

“That said, we do have to prepare for all scenarios.”

During a full-scale strike, schools are unable to provide adequate supervision for children and, therefore, cannot ensure student safety, Pochop added.

“For this reason, we always ask parents and guardians to make other arrangements for their children.”

SD42 will keep parents updated via its website, Facebook and Twitter.

“Although we haven’t had many calls from parents yet, we know that there’s a lot of anxiety about how this school year will begin,” said Pochop.

“On our end, we are working hard to ensure the year begins as smoothly as possible so all our students and staff can focus on having a great year.”

Offices will open next week, provided schools aren’t behind picket lines.

Teachers went on a full-scale strike June 17, closing public schools in B.C. two weeks before the end of the school year.

The strike followed several weeks of rotating walkouts and other job action.

Talks between the B.C. Teacher’s Federations and B.C. Public School Employers’ Association have continued under a media blackout since mediator Vince Ready met the two sides last week.

On Thursday, however, Education Minister Peter Fassbender spoke to media, saying he respects the blackout as it relates to bargaining, but has a responsibility to advise parents about the options available to them if the strike continues.

He referred parents to bcparentinfo.ca, a tax-payer funded website launched Monday to update parents on bargaining and provide them with learning resources.

The B.C. government has also offered parents and guardians of students under the age of 13 years $40 a day if the strike is not over by the start of classes in September.

The BCTF called Fassbender’s media tour “a clear contravention” of the media blackout that was agreed to when Ready first engaged in the bargaining process.

“It is unhelpful that the minister is again playing politics in the media instead of allowing bargaining to resume behind closed doors,” said BCTF president Jim Iker.

“It shows a lack of integrity and highlights the government’s ongoing attempts to derail meaningful negotiations.”

The union called on Fassbender to honour the media blackout and instruct the public school employers’ association to immediately begin intensive mediation with the assistance of Ready.

“The BCTF bargaining team is ready at any moment to begin this important work. Teachers hope the government is finally ready to compromise to get a negotiated settlement,” Iker added.

“More than anything, teachers want to be back in schools on September 2 with smaller classes, and more support for all students so we can give BC children the education they deserve.”

The province and public school employers’ association have maintained that the BCTF’s benefit demands remain far beyond those of other public sector unions that have settled contracts. Also at issue is class size and special needs support, with the employer’s latest offer rejected by the union and the latest of a series of court actions scheduled for this fall.

See related story: Private schools see spike in interest

See related editorial: Welcome back

Pitt Meadows Secondary Newsletter – 20 Aug. 2014 by Monisha Caroline Martins

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maple Ridge Return-It centre serves as pilot for new beverage recycling effort

Haney Bottle Depot will be part of a six-month trial where consumers don’t have to sort their cans

Foundation seeks to bring ‘meaningful’ art to Hammond

Asking Maple Ridge residents for suggestions on design and theme for two large community murals

Pitt Meadows one step closer to developing North Lougheed Study Area

City council endorsed the revised NLSA land use plan on Tuesday, July 7

Ride for cancer in Langley will take place Sunday, despite COVID-19

Annual fundraiser will be ‘really different,’ but classic cars are expected, organizer promises

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read