As Chilliwack schools prepared for their two-week spring break Friday, the school district announced it has proposed a two-week break for next year to local teachers.
The 2018-2019 calendar has been up for discussion at the past several board meetings, and went out for public feedback in February. But the calendar proposed did away with the current two-week spring break. The reason, stated district senior staff, is that it has always asked teachers to work outside their local collective agreement.
In the past years, the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association and the Chilliwack School District has had a letter of understanding to allow for the amended hours. However, last year, the issue remained unsolved. This has not happened so far in discussions between both parties. However, when presented with the two-week calendar option, the CTA responded with an agreement “in principle.”
To make up for the one week lost with a two-week spring break, while still meeting the legislated minimum Ministry of Education hours, the proposal as written on March 15 would add six minutes of instruction each day for teachers — falling outside their collective agreement.
The CTA will be consulting with members and reporting back to the district after this spring break.
When the school district surveyed the community on their original calendar, they received an overwhelming response from about 3,600 people. They say about 85 per cent wrote to ask for re-consideration of the two-week break. The proposed two-week Spring Break would run from March 18 toMarch 29, 2019. Students would head back to class on Monday, April 1, 2019.
“The Chillliwack Board of Education believes it is important for the District and the CTA to work together effectively in the best interests of students,” the district said in a release on Friday morning. “In order to avoid a dispute or disruption to students and parents around the 2018/19 Calendar and Spring Break, the District requested that the CTA bring forward a proposal that would include and accommodate a two-week Spring Break. When this did not occur, the District developed a proposal for resolution and presented it to the CTA on March 15 for agreement.”