Monday Memo – April 24, 2017

MEMO TO: Staff Reps
COPIES TO: STA Executive Committee
FROM: Gioia Breda, President
Date: April 24, 2017

______________________________________________________________________

Implementation Update:
In meeting with the District last week, it came to our attention that the Ministry of Education is setting some conditions for school districts that are hampering our District from fully following through with demonstrating “best efforts”, such as an unrealistic timeline to make portable and capital funding requests. Additionally, it looks like they are telling districts they need to guarantee that portables will be used for five years as a requirement of ordering them. We contacted the BCTF and they have confirmed that these caveats were not discussed at the LOU #17 table and the BCTF Table Officers will be meeting with BCPSEA/Ministry representatives regarding these issues.

We responded to the District, letting them know that the Ministry’s stance regarding requests for additional capital funding to implement the restored language appears completely unreasonable, particularly when Minister Bernier has assured the public in the media that the restored language is fully funded. It seems fairly clear that the Ministry is setting school districts up for failure. We have a meeting scheduled with the District this Tuesday and will continue our advocacy. As this is a provincial issue, we have urged the BCTF to take the necessary political actions to make these unreasonable ministerial conditions known.

STA Annual General Meeting – May 17th
The STA Annual General Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 17th at the Bombay Banquet Hall from 4:00 to 6:00 pm with special guest BCTF President Glen Hansman. All members are encouraged to attend. We will be holding elections for Executive Committee positions, including table officer positions as well as the Resolutions Committee. The call for nominations ended last week. We will be sending out an agenda, candidate statements as well as some possible constitutional changes. We will also be adopting the STA budget for 2017-2018, and setting the STA fee. If you require childcare, please email Donna at donna@surreyteachers.org.

Provincial Election, May 9th
At the STARA meeting on Wednesday, April 19, STARA reps voted for the STA to endorse the NDP Candidates in all Surrey ridings, and to make the following donations:

Endorsed Candidate Riding Donation
Rebecca Smith Surrey-Cloverdale  $1,000
Jagrup Brar Surrey-Fleetwood  $4,000
Rachna Singh Surrey-Green Timbers  $1,000
Garry Begg Surrey-Guildford  $1,000
Harry Bains Surrey-Newton  $1,000
*Jinny Sims Surrey-Panorama $10,000
Jonathan Silveira Surrey South  $1,000
Bruce Ralson Surrey-Whalley  $1,000
Niovi Patsicakis Surrey-White Rock  $1,000

*Jinny Sims was already endorsed at the Feb. 15, 2017 Special General Meeting.

The decision to endorse these candidates was based on the party platforms and the interviews which were offered to candidates in all Surrey ridings. Each of the NDP candidates demonstrated a good awareness of important issues affecting public education, and of the situation in Surrey. The three BC Liberal candidates who participated in interviews defended the current government’s policies on public education. The NDP education platform contains more promises that are favourable to public education in BC and Surrey: eliminating portables in Surrey, raising the minimum wage, $10/day child care, a capital fund for playgrounds, restoring funding to adult education, and further support for resources and technology associated with curriculum change. The three Green Party candidates who participated promoted the Green Party platform, which has many positive things for public education; however, they do not appear to have a realistic prospect of winning any of the Surrey ridings, and Green Party leader Andrew Weaver appears to have a negative attitude toward teachers’ unions. For all of these reasons, the STA is endorsing the NDP candidates in the Surrey ridings.

Historically, the STA has not often made contributions to political parties or candidates in provincial elections, certainly not in recent history. This time, however, we are, because the stakes are high. STARA reps were faced with this question: which party would teachers be better off facing in bargaining in 2019: the BC Liberals, or the NDP? With the BC Liberals, we have every reason to believe that in the next round of bargaining we could face demands for concessions, another lockout (with 10% pay being deducted per day), and an attempt to take what we won back in the Supreme Court of Canada. Although we do not expect the NDP would agree with all of our bargaining proposals, we do believe that we could bargain fairly and in good faith with them. For that reason, STARA decided that we need to back up our endorsement with money, given the immense financial advantage the BC Liberals hold. Each candidate will receive $1,000, except for Jagrup Brar and Jinny Sims. The reasons for the higher donations were that Jagrup Brar is running against former Minister of Education Peter Fassbender, who won by only 200 votes in the last election, and that it is in all of our best interests to have former BCTF President Jinny Sims be in the legislature as a champion of teachers and public education, regardless of who wins the election.

International Conference Pro-d Funding Draw – Deadline Monday, May 1st
Every year at the May STA AGM (May 17th), we draw names for four $2500 Professional Development Funding grants to attend an international conference. To be considered, completed application forms and accompanying documentation must be received by the STA office before 4:30 p.m. on the first school day of May (Monday, May 1st). If you are interested in applying, please carefully read the attached Guidelines and Procedures. Good luck!

STA Convention May 5th
Registration is going well now after several hiccoughs in the first few days. Over 2500 people have now registered. For those who have already registered, please take a few minutes to check over the confirmation email you received, there have been glitches, and we want to solve any problems now, not two days before convention starts! For those who haven’t registered yet, (SECONDARY TEACHERS! Time to register!!!) please do so in the next couple of days because at the end of this week we will be cancelling workshops that are undersubscribed. There are lots of great workshops at our 3 main sites (Aboriginal-focus, Elementary & Secondary,) and 16 excursions and off-site workshops that still have room! Try something new! Shake up your own learning! Remember, years ago we bargained for the right to host one of the precious Pro D days, and STA members are expected to attend and support this right.

We also need volunteers on the day, so if you would like to help us, even if it is only for an hour in the morning when we can really use the help (i.e. help directing people to parking, help at reception desk, help with classroom logistics, assisting presenters with sign in, help directing people to their workshops etc…) please email Julia MacRae at macrae_j@surreyschools.ca and let us know. We ALL make wonderful Pro-D happen!

Transfer of TTOC Experience: June 30th Deadline
Teachers have the opportunity twice per year to convert their TTOC experience into contract experience for the purposes of moving up a pay increment. Two documents are attached: one which explains the process, and the form that must be submitted to the District. Please note, however, that the current deadline for submitting the form (in order to be reflected in a September change in increment) is June 30th, not August 31st as stated in the explanatory document.

All Candidates Meeting: Tomorrow, Tuesday April 25th at Sullivan Heights Secondary!
The Sullivan Heights Grade 10 Leadership class is hosting a joint all-candidates event featuring the ridings of Surrey-Panorama and Surrey-Fleetwood. All candidates have been invited. Confirmed guests include former BCTF President Jinny Sims (Surrey-Panorama) and former Education Minister Peter Fassbender (Surrey-Fleetwood). Let’s make sure the voice of education is heard and Surrey Teachers are well-represented! The event (at 6248 144st Street) starts at 6:00 pm, with food, drinks, and entertainment from the Sullivan Heights Bhangra team! Bring your questions, bring your friends, and make education a priority in this election!

STA Early Voters Social
Come and socialize with your STA colleagues at the Taphouse Pub in Guildford on Saturday, April 29th between 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm. Appies for all STA members. Show your BC Elections “I voted” sticker (or a selfie of yourself at your polling site) and also get a free beverage! Celebrate your participation in the democratic process! Hosted by the STA PAPR Committee. Register at https://early-voters-social-april-29.eventbrite.ca

April 28 Day of Mourning
We pause every April 28th to remember workers killed and those who still suffer from a work-related injury or illness, their lives and livelihoods forever compromised. Each Secondary school has received or will soon receive a box of materials to help your school commemorate the day. Staff reps or health and safety reps, please take some initiative to facilitate this with your principal.

Super conference registration is open now
Registration is now open for PSA Superconference! Early bird registration ($120 for a BCTF member) will end after the first 1200 registrations.
http://mailchi.mp/48b92af3c8da/super-conference-registration-is-now-open?e=02378d1acd

March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate:
Saturday, April 29th 1:00 pm at Science World
On April 29th, join thousands in the streets across Canada and the US for Climate, Justice and Jobs. More than 100,000 are expected to march in Washington, DC and thousands more will march in over 200 sister marches across the globe to show the world and our leaders that we will resist fossil fuel projects and climate policies that attack our people, our communities and our planet. To change everything, we need everyone! Read more about “Why We’re Marching” here: https://peoplesclimatecanada.ca/

In Vancouver we will gather at 1 pm for a rally at Science World followed by a march through downtown Vancouver.

Please RSVP and help us spread the word on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1884893518460482/

Share this event with friends by email and join our mailing list for future climate justice related actions and events please RSVP to the event on Action Network: https://actionnetwork.org/events/peoples-climate-march-vancouver

Joke of The Week
Q: Did you hear the one about the cross-eyed teacher?
A: They had trouble controlling their pupils.

This week’s joke was submitted by Eric Kovits. If you would like to participate in joke of the week, please submit a short, clean, (but not necessarily education-related) joke to Gioia Breda at pres@surreyteachers.org . If your joke is drawn for publication, your name will then be entered into a draw for a gift card at the end of the month. *Thanks for the jokes! Please keep them coming!

Calendar of Events:
Reminder to all teachers – All STA meetings are open to members who are interested in attending. If you are thinking of getting involved, why not come and check out what is going on in our committees?

April 24 to 26 – Staff Rep training
April 25 – Executive Committee meeting
April 27 – Aboriginal Education Committee meeting
April 28 to 29 – BCTF Zone meeting
April 28 – National Day of Mourning
May 1 – ProD Committee meeting
May 2 – Committee Chair meeting
May 2 – Executive & Committee Chair Liaison meeting
May 4 – Convention Committee meeting
May 5 – STA Convention
May 10 – Bargaining Committee meeting
May 15 – Anti-Poverty Committee meeting
May 16 – Executive Committee meeting
May 17 – STA Annual General meeting
June 5 – Bargaining Committee meeting


Thursday, April 27th, 2017. Filed in Category: Monday Memos

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