Open letter from Vancouver school board chair to Christy Clark and Peter Fassbender


Vancouver school board chair Patti Bacchus has issued the following open letter:

February 12, 2014

The Honourable Christy Clark
Premier of British Columbia
Box 9041, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC
V8W 9E1

The Honourable Peter Fassbender
Minister of Education
PO Box 9045, Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC
V8W 9E2

Dear Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender:

Last night the Vancouver School Board voted to send you an open letter requesting the following: 

  1. Government direct BCPSEA and its appointed negotiator to immediately begin genuine, good-faith bargaining with the BCTF.
  2. Government assure all school boards that government will take full financial responsibility for any costs arising from grievances, arbitrations and legal actions against boards that are now not in compliance with their collective agreements with teachers due to the recent ruling of the BC Supreme Court.
  3. Government provide adequate funding to districts to enable them to be in compliance with the collective agreements that are now back in effect.
  4. Government restore education funding to a level that enables school districts to restore all service levels to the equivalent of those provided in 2002 (see the VBE’s Restoration Budget that was submitted to government in 2013, attached), adjusted for enrolment and inflation.
  5. Government make sincere efforts to bargain a resolution for any retroactive claims for board non-compliance with collective agreements due to Bill 28, 27 or 22.

As you know, the decision of the BC Supreme Court against government has put most, if not all, BC school districts in some level of violation of their collective agreements with teaching staff. This is causing an extreme level of uncertainty in our district as we work through the process of getting into compliance with our agreements as quickly as possible.

We appreciate your prompt attention to these requests so we can return to focusing on supporting teaching and learning in our district and ensuring we are doing the very best to meet the needs of all students.


Patti Bacchus

 Att: VSB Restoration Budget

c:   Vancouver MLAs
      All BC School Boards, c/o BCSTA
      VBE Trustees
      Steve Cardwell, Superintendent of Schools
      Rick Krowchuk, Secretary Treasurer

Comments (6) Add New Comment
Why has the number of bureaucrats working for the VSB increased even as enrolment declined? Why are there so many people being paid 6 figure salaries for administrative work at the VSB? What is the point of having a school board that has no power except to whine and spend money?

Education is funded more than enough and has been by every Provincial government we have had in BC for over 40 years. The problem is that an ever increasing percentage of that money is spent on administration and less on delivering services. The problem is that spending decisions are made by bureaucrats who do not answer to anyone. They know if they increase their own salaries by cutting school budgets people will blame unions or government. The same is true in healthcare. Bureaucrats have the real power of the purse and are interested in empire building & lining their pockets even if they have to increase class sizes or eliminate healthcare services to do so.
Rating: -19
Marcy Toms
Many thanks to the VBE from this retired teacher for standing up for public education in general, the right of teachers to bargain all the terms and conditions of their employment in particular, and for affirming the need for the provincial government to fund public schools properly. This board has always recognized both the inherent and the practical value of public education to all members of society. It is the single most effective way of investing in a most precious social and economic asset: a well-educated, thoughtful and active citizenry.
Rating: +42
Alan Layton
What? She didn't tweet it?
Rating: -1
YES it IS about abiding by the supreme court ruling AND meeting the learning needs of every child in our public schools.

Government can pay NOW or pay later, and over the last 12 years too many children have already missed out. It makes no sense to waste more precious dollars on legal fees/court costs.
Rating: +41
Our school boards have become populated with people more concerned with scrapping with the provincial government then actually doing what they were elected to do.
Rating: -32
No, John, they haven't. They were elected to manage the school board, and that's exactly what they're doing. The provincial Liberals, on the other hand, certainly seem to be more concerned with scrapping our education system than with actually doing what they were elected to do.
Rating: +38
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