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Saskatchewan school boards prepare for potential teachers strike

On Wednesday, a letter was sent home to families in the Regina Public School (RPS) division, outlining how they will be kept in the loop in the event of job action or a strike by the Saskatchewan Teacher’s Federation (STF).

The letter does not say when or what form of job action may take place but wants to assure families the safety of students is top priority.

“Regina Public Schools teachers, principals and vice-principals, consultants and other positions are members of the STF,” the letter read. “Any direction from the STF to initiate job action will impact these employees and operation of our schools.”

“For now, school operations will continue as normal. However, should we receive notice that job action will occur, Regina Public Schools will notify families and staff as soon as possible.”

RPS communications supervisor Terry Lazarou said he has seen worry from families online after the letter was sent.

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He said the reason the letter was sent now is because they didn’t send one in December, and Monday saw the release of the Conciliation Board’s report.

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“The timing of this is not significant, other than the fact that we haven’t communicated to families (before) about the possibility and that they might need to prepare if there is a job action,” Lazarou said.

‘We don’t know what the future will bring in any sense, but we want them to know that we’ll do everything we can to ensure the safety of our students and deal with any kind of operational changes that are required.”

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While no job actions or strike notices have been announced by STF, president Samantha Becotte said they are running out of options.

“Kids in Saskatchewan deserve better,” Becotte said. “It is up to the government to start make improvements and make long term commitments, because it’s not about this year’s kids. It’s about a generation of kids who have been left behind and who have been left struggling in our schools.”

Lazarou said if any job action were to be taken, he said they would be given 48 hours’ notice in order to have time to inform families.

“Parents should not be jittery because nothing has changed as far as we know. It’s still school as usual,” he added.

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A letter outlining potential steps was also sent out by the Prairie Valley School division on Tuesday, while the Greater Catholic Saskatoon School board outlined their plans in December.

“Prairie Valley School Division values our dedicated teachers and the great work they do in our schools, classrooms and communities,” the division’s statement read.

“Teaching is a challenging, valuable profession and we respect the collective bargaining rights of our staff members. Collective bargaining occurs at the provincial level, and we believe conversations about this process do not belong in our schools. We pledge to keep bargaining matters out of the classroom and we ask our families and staff to do the same.”

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