Thursday 18 December 2014

As 2014 draws to a close we would like to take this opportunity to offer you a safe and happy holiday season.  We hope you enjoy a well-deserved rest and that you are able to spend time with family and friends! 
We are grateful for the trust you have placed in us and we take pride in being able to work with, and for, teachers.
Whether your traditions call for you to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Dwiali, Hogmanay, St. Lucia's Day, Kwanzaa or countless others, may this be a time of peace and good-will. 

Best wishes,
Michele and Mary 

Thursday 20 November 2014

Thursday 13 November 2014

Hello PRNTA members!
The Local Elections Committee sent out a set of seven questions to all trustee candidates and the acclaimed trustees. We asked them to respond so we could send out their responses to our members. This will assist you in making decisions on whom you will vote for in the election, on November 15. The cover page of the questions file is included only at the beginning and then each page has the name of the respondent at the top of the page. This file holds responses from the following people:
Zone 5 (Fort St. John and Alaska Highway) Darrel Pasichnyk
Jeff Richert
Bill Snow

Zone 1 (Clearview/Cecil Lake) Tanya Clary
Zone 2 (Upper Pine/Prespatou) Erin Evans (Acclaimed)
You should also receive a separate PDF file for Linda Sewell-Stringer, candidate in Zone 1 (Clearview/Cecil Lake).
We did not receive a response to the questions from Geoff Bough (Zone 5), Jaret Thompson (Zone 5), Candace Dow (Zone 3, Hudson’s Hope), or Ida Campbell (Zone 4, Taylor).
Additionally, the following people did attend the PRNTA organized All-Candidates Forum on Wednesday, November 5:
Zone 1: Tanya Clary, Linda Sewell- Stringer
Zone 5: Darrel Pasichnyk, Jeff Richert, Bill Snow, Jaret Thompson

Zone 2: Erin Evans (acclaimed)
Ida Campbell was unable to attend due to a family matter in Edmonton, and Candace Dow did not attend due to illness. Geoff Bough had indicated that he hoped to attend for at least part of the evening, but he did not attend at all.

We hope that you will get out and vote (if you are eligible to vote in Zone 1 or Zone 5), and that you encourage others to vote.
Kevin Frankham, Local Election Committee Chair
PEACE RIVER NORTH TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION Street Address: 10142 – 100th Avenue
Mailing Address: Box 6057
Fort St John, B.C., V1J 4H6

Phone/Fax: 250-785-8881 E-mail:
2014 School Trustee Questionnaire
Peace River North Teachers’ Association (PRNTA)

Dear School Trustee Candidates:
First of all, thank you so much for putting your name forward to run for school trustee. It is wonderful to see so many people interested in education.
As you can imagine, the teachers of Peace River North have a vested interest in school board elections. All together there are about 400 public school teachers in Peace River North. They bring with them partners, friends, and family. The PRNTA will be actively working to have them all out to vote on Municipal Election Day.
Teachers are looking for trustees with the following attributes:
  1. People who talk directly with all effected employee groups before making decisions
  2. People who will commit to financial transparency, that will ask the tough questions
    in public, and that will strive to keep money close to kids in the classroom to help
    meet their needs
  3. People who are willing to be strong advocates for public education and who will
    speak out on all available platforms for the students and employees of SD60
In an effort to inform our members about school trustee candidates, the PRNTA has put together the following questions. We hope that you will put some time and thought into completing it to the best of your ability.
Please return it to the PRNTA office by Monday, November 3, so that we can collate the information and get it to our members well before the election on Nov 15th. You can drop it off at 10142 100 Avenue, or email it to or
Feel free to attach additional pages if necessary. Thanks for your time and efforts!
Darrel Pasichnyk – Zone 5 Fort St. John/Alaska Highway
  1. 1)  What is your opinion of public education in British Columbia today, and what do you intend to do to improve it?
    My opinion of the public education system is that it needs improvement in all sectors. I can’t say for sure if more funding will solve the issues at large, but I do know that communication between all stakeholders involved need to be better. As a whole we need to move forward not backwards.
    The last 3 years as a trustee has taught me a lot. Going in gung ho, saying to yourself that you are going to change this and that doesn’t work. All it gets you is a lot of frustration. There are many levels throughout the education system. Each level plays a part in any outcome for the District which takes time, this in itself is frustrating. I will keep advocating for anything that the District needs until a sufficient answer has resulted.

  2. 2)  What processes could trustees establish to ensure all education partner groups (Teachers, CUPE, Parents, Principals, Sr. Management, etc.) have input into board decisions?
    I believe as any governmental body, trustees are elected to make decisions for the District. Input is always appreciated from any of the partner groups and will always be taken into account before such decisions are made. One issue that has always been discussed is how to better inform all partners of any issues concerning the District, which we are working on and will continue to do so. What I have seen is the partner feedback, which seems to be scant at the best of times. This is where we all need to be better.
  3. 3)  Describe any experience you have in setting and monitoring large organizational budgets?
    As a trustee for the past term I have monitored District’s budget. This includes a very extensive review of monies coming in and going out. Any anomalies from year to year would be discussed to the satisfaction of the Board and approved.
    In my career as a Senior estimator I create estimates/budgets for all types projects anywhere ranging from $10,000 to $30,000,000 in value. All are analyzed for work efficiencies/deficiencies and improved upon.

  4. 4)  What are ways trustees can help to ensure the needs of all students are being met?
    By being persistent, adaptive and flexible. As a trustee if you are looking to change the world it is quite difficult to do, but if you pick and whittle down the meaningful issues that have an impact on your District you will have greater success and a more rewarding time in office.
Darrel Pasichnyk – Zone 5 Fort St. John/Alaska Highway
  1. 5)  Describe times when you have been in a position to advocate or speak out publically for something that you believe in.
    As a parent, I am always in a position to speak out. Typically I keep to myself and like to work behind the scenes to create change. I don’t believe you have to put on a show through public media to make your beliefs known. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, everyone has one, it’s what you do with them that count whether out loud or quietly in the background.
  2. 6)  What role do you see trustees playing in speaking up for public education in British Columbia?
    Trustee roles will be as they have been since trustees first came to be, to advocate not only for their District but education as a whole. It is a behind the scenes role that trustees take on. As a Board we speak with one voice through the Chair. Speaking publicly may get your opinion out as an individual but doesn’t do much in the way of helping issues. It may only serve to confuse the public and distort the truth.
  3. 7)  Is there any other information you want teachers to know about you and why you want to be a school trustee in SD60?
    I married a wonderful woman who was born and raised in FSJ. She took all of her schooling in the District and we now have 4 children, 3 of which are currently attending school. I would like to be on the ground level of not only their education but also all the students within the District.
    I have been a trustee for 3 years now, working for all students. There are ongoing issues throughout the District that I feel need my attention as I am well versed in them. I would like to see them completed or followed through.
    A trustee is not there to micro manage students, teachers, schools or administration, we are there to reflect on current issues make decisions as a whole that would be for the betterment of all our students.

Jeff Richert – Zone 5 Fort St. John/Alaska Highway
1) What is your opinion of public education in British Columbia today, and what do you intend to do to improve it?
I am a product of the public education system and fully respect and understand the long
term value of having a quality education. Having said that I have grave concerns about the
lack of funding that is prevalent today. I am of the opinion that a properly funded education
system is an investment in the future of our children and a worthy one at that.
The recent teachers strike alarmed me at how our government politicized such an issue and
that alarm turned into frustration as to how it was handled. I realized I have a passion for
education and want to get involved as I do not have faith in the role of government in
delivering a quality level of education to our children in the coming years.
There are a number of structural issues impeding the education system, including class size
and composition that requires some tough conversations with all parties involved. These
conversations need to occur immediately and be solutions focused. I am of the opinion that
a core role of a trustee is to foster such dialogue.
2) What processes could trustees establish to ensure all education partner groups (Teachers, CUPE, Parents, Principals, Sr. Management, etc.) have input into board decisions?
A fundamental issue I see and hear from many people is that consultation on board
decisions does not occur. The top/down management system that our governments utilize
is evident in how school districts are run as well. I am of the opinion that this is a
consultation issue and trustees should be the mechanism that fosters dialogue to ensure all
partner groups and their concerns, ideas and solutions are put forth to the Board. There are
a lot of smart people out there with good ideas that can help our schools and children and
what we need is a process for those views to be put forward meaningfully. I view this as
the core role of a trustee.
I would propose having representatives of all partner groups in the same room to discuss
their issues and concerns in a solutions focused approach. Having monthly, bi-monthly or
quarterly meetings is something that I am willing to coordinate if I was elected and I feel
that fostering dialogue is a key first step to delivering input to the Board.
3) Describe any experience you have in setting and monitoring large organizational budgets
My experience with budgets falls into the realm of exceptionally financially constrained
projects working within organizations that do not have the capacity to deal with cost
overruns. Never in my career have I been put in a situation where I had flexible budgets or
room for error. I am of the opinion that no matter what budget you have in front of you,
informed decision making is vital to ensuring an efficient allocation of financial resources
and contingencies in place in order to prevent impacts on future budgets do to unforeseen
Jeff Richert – Zone 5 Fort St. John/Alaska Highway
4) What are ways trustees can help to ensure the needs of all students are being met?
I am of the opinion that trustees, as stated in my answer to question #2, should do their best
to consult with all interested parties and partner groups in order to make informed
decisions. In order to ensure the needs of students are being met it is important to have a
clear understanding of what those needs are, and make decisions that best address those
needs within the constrained environment that our education system is. If further
resources are required to meet needs of students, a trustee should be willing to advocate on
behalf of all parties to ensure those needs are met.
5) Describe times when you have been in a position to advocate or speak out publically for something that you believe in.
For the past three years I have been in a role with my employer advocating against a project
that has the potential to seriously impact the financial situation of the province. On
numerous occasions I have been tasked to speak out to government, industry and the public
addressing the concerns related to large scale hydroelectric facility construction and the
financial risks associated with them. I am only willing to speak out against issues or
promote interests when I am 100% in agreement with them. In this case, I am 100% in
agreement that our education system is in trouble and I am willing to speak out to the best
of my abilities and voice the concerns of who I represent.
6) What role do you see trustees playing in speaking up for public education in British Columbia?
Where were the trustees during the last teacher strike? Why didn't we hear their concerns about the system then?
I'm not sure the current trustees in this district understand what their role is. Trustees
ultimately should have their focus on the children and help facilitate the progression of an
education system that provides a quality education for our children. Trustees need to be
vocal about issues that are not being properly addressed, hold elected officials accountable
and utilize such mediums as the media in order to ensure that the voice of the people they
represent is being heard.
I am of the opinion that since a trustee is an elected position it is their duty to forward the
interests of those they represent.
Jeff Richert – Zone 5 Fort St. John/Alaska Highway
7) Is there any other information you want teachers to know about you and why you want to be a school trustee in SD60?
I hope teachers understand that I am coming to the table being frank, honest and willing to
step up to the plate and be vocal to help us get on a path of success. With the Liberal
government and their arrogance towards teachers and partner groups it is time for a
coordinated effort speaking out against the issues they face on a daily basis and increase the
pressure on elected officials. I am furious that a government elected on a “Family First”
platform, has now unilaterally thrown this out to focus on gas export via LNG as a purely
economic platform.
I would like all teachers to understand that last year the oil and gas sector received
subsidies to the tune of $587 million dollars and $1.25 billion over the last 5 years. If you
think more funding is needed to deal with the class size and composition issues in the
education system, look no further to the subsidies the oil and gas is receiving to find those
missing dollars.
Why are multi-billion dollar market cap, multi-national oil and gas companies receiving
incentives while our education systems is under ever increasing financial constraints?
Please read the article below:
Bill Snow – Zone 5 Fort St. John/Alaska Highway
1) What is your opinion of public education in British Columbia today, and what do you intend to do to improve it?
We in BC today are sending students to schools that are way to full. We need to build new schools, promote smaller classes, and utilize our funds to hire enough staff to properly operate. My focus will be to promote safety in the schools and prevent overcrowding.
2) What processes could trustees establish to ensure all education partner groups (Teachers, CUPE, Parents, Principals, Sr. Management, etc.) have input into board decisions?
I believe we need more communication between the trustees and all invested groups. We have to develop an open dialog to share and improve our education system.
3) Describe any experience you have in setting and monitoring large organizational budgets
I have handled and dealt with money in a few different positions over the years. For many years I was involved in the restaurant business and was in charge of ordering and cost control. In a different position I worked doing night audit at a hotel. Then last but not least - I have been involved in coaching, budgets and managing sports for the past 28 years.
4) What are ways trustees can help to ensure the needs of all students are being met?
As a trustee you have to listen to hear the ideas of all groups - from the students to the district superintendent – anyone who would like to improve our education system. We can create a system which works for everyone. I want to hear the ideas and work together to see results.
5) Describe times when you have been in a position to advocate or speak out publically for something that you believe in.
There has been many times where I spoke up for what I believe in – for 28 years as either a sports coach or management. There were 12 1⁄2 years working for SD 60 where I spoke up for what I believed in – smaller classes, student support, and assistance. In my present job, part of my position is dealing with safety and I am a person who will speak up when I see and feel that something is not safe.
Bill Snow – Zone 5 Fort St. John/Alaska Highway
6) What role do you see trustees playing in speaking up for public education in British Columbia?
I think that more people should know who trustees are and be able to contact them for help. People should feel that they are welcome to attend meetings and feel that they will be heard and responded to as well.
7) Is there any other information you want teachers to know about you and why you want to be a school trustee in SD60?
I have spent 12 1⁄2 years working for SD 60 and about 14 years coaching sports in a few different school districts. Throughout my time as an educational assistant with the school district I said that I would continue to represent our students and help as much as possible by running as a trustee. My decision to run as a trustee at this time is based on the need for new schools and smaller classes so all students can learn in a safe environment and be safe!
I have lived in Fort St. John since the spring of 2000. I am heavily involved with the Fort St. John Huskies hockey team. I am a member at the Links Golf Course and still a player in the Fort St. John men’s soccer league. I believe in creating a school system which helps create connections, critical thinkers, and healthy citizens!
Tanya Clary – Zone 2 Clearview/Cecil Lake
1) What is your opinion of public education in British Columbia today, and what do you intend to do to improve it?
I firmly believe in the public education system and have seen first-hand how effective and important it is. I also work as an instructor at our local community college, so my dedication to education is evident. The2014 fall strike between our teachers and government was an impressive display of much needed unity and determination by the teachers to stand up for their rights. However, I also feel there is more we can do to support students, teachers and parents in the education of our children. I decided to put my name forward in this municipal election because I feel that as a Trustee, I can be more actively involved in making positive changes.
2) What processes could trustees establish to ensure all education partner groups (Teachers, CUPE, Parents, Principals, Sr. Management, etc.) have input into board decisions?
Currently, from what I see, these partners appear to have effective processes – it’s a matter of making these processes more accessible and accountable to everyone. The teachers, through staff meetings, should be able to discuss their problems with their principles, who in turn should be bringing these issues up at the principle’s meetings. The superintendant/assistant superintendent should be bringing these things up to the board level if they are beyond operational. If the same issues are being brought forward and don’t get addressed then it’s time to bring them to the board member who is responsible for that zone. As well, board members should always be available. Of course, trustee roles are vicarious – they are not responsible for operations and their only employee is the superintendent. That being said, if operational issues are being brought forward and are detrimental to the running of the business, and are not being addressed it’s time for a board to step in. Trustee’s roles are to set policies and ensure we are all being fiscally responsible.
Parents should have the same process through their PAC, DPAC and then SUPAC. Again, if something comes up that is not being taken care of the board needs to get involved and ensure something should happen. Board members can and should be invited to PAC meetings.
There are always open meetings at the board office where everyone is invited. These meetings used to rotate to ensure all zones the opportunity to come but not many people attended and some of the meetings became emotional for the few who came with personal issues. I feel these meetings can again be rotating, and that social media could open up board meetings to a larger population. This is something I would like to look at again. We can work at having an even more open and transparent process.
Trustees sit on bargaining tables for CUPE and BCTF/PRNTA and this is where I would like to learn more about, and be more active in these areas.
Tanya Clary – Zone 2 Clearview/Cecil Lake
3) Describe any experience you have in setting and monitoring large organizational budgets
In the past, I have experience as the Executive Director for Literacy Society as well as being the Executive Director for Women’s Resource Society. I was also the education coordinator for a local First Nations reserve, where I was in charge of a large federal operational budget for the school, staff and programs. During my time with these organizations, I learned much about budgets, programs and about how board of directors operate. Currently, I own and run own private practice company. All of these things have opened me up to learning about budget and boards, but I also have confidence that I can learn quickly how a school board is involved with budgets.
4) What are ways trustees can help to ensure the needs of all students are being met?
The needs of students are always changing, due to many factors. The first thing I will do, if elected, is not to make any assumptions that I, as a trustee, know what students needs at this time. I will make an effort to ask, learn and be open about decisions that need to be made, in order that students will benefit the most. I have always believed in an open-door policy in whatever capacity I am working in, and the role of school trustee should be no different. Having three children myself, I know that students can have a voice, and can articulate their needs, when they have the floor to express them.
5) Describe times when you have been in a position to advocate or speak out publically for something that you believe in.
Currently, I am a community activist, working to eliminate violence against women. I have, for two decades, been a voice for women and children. This hasn’t always been an easy role for me in a community that has high rates of violence. I have advocated for the rights of individuals and therefore have learned to speak out, as difficult as this might be at times. Living in the North, having a strong voice about the discrimination and injustices against women has not made me popular, but I have never backed down from positions I feel are important. I am actively involved in different community events that speak to marginalized persons, and this is also something I am comfortable doing. For years, I also spoke to students and parents about the issue of emotional bullying, and I challenged everyone to not be bystanders. This was also not an easy topic for me to speak about at times, but again, I do not back down from difficult issues. I am comfortable advocating for our schools systems, students, region, ect.
Tanya Clary – Zone 2 Clearview/Cecil Lake
6) What role do you see trustees playing in speaking up for public education in British Columbia?
Trustee have a HUGE role in speaking up for our public education system. Trustees are the ones who can have direct links to government, as well as to help direct policy. It starts with Trustees and moves forward throughout BCSTA meetings every year. At those meetings, board members can set provincial policies and directions, which the government has to listen to. Many MLA’s attend these meetings to understand the issues in the public education system. Also the board meets with our MLA regularly to discuss current issues and have an advocate in caucus. All of this access to politicians, and having a voice at these tables means that as a trustee, I could have influence on supporting the public education system
7) Is there any other information you want teachers to know about you and why you want to be a school trustee in SD60?
I entered into this election because I felt Trustees could have had a stronger voice during the teacher’s strike. I also feel that, with the changing climate of our region, there is a need for progressive and proactive programs in our schools that will meet the needs of students, teachers and parents. I think I could be a very effective board member in regards to both these issue. As well, I do not shy away from difficult issues and am comfortable engaging with students, teachers and parents on a personal level, in order to fact-find. I have lived and worked in this area for over twenty years, have three children that have nagivated our school system to graduation, and was a PAC president for over five years while the school underwent significant changes. I am educated, a college instructor, who is dedicated to our public school systems.
Erin Evans – Zone 2 Upper Pine/Prespatou (Acclaimed)
1) What is your opinion of public education in British Columbia today, and what do you intend to do to improve it?
Public Education is our most valuable resource. If we put as much time and energy into Public Education as we do other resources, I don’t think we would have the funding shortfalls and the decimation to education that we see today. Public Education should be held near and dear to our hearts, souls and minds for a better future and a better society.
An educated and literate public vote more, participate more in society, are healthier, have stable employment, are less involved in the criminal justice system, pay more taxes etc... I recognize that a fix to a problem is not always about money, however I do believe public education is underfunded and could use more to support early intervention programs such as math help, reading recovery, and learning assessments, to name a few. I would advocate that money given to private school should be redirected to public education. I also feel that class size and composition is a major issue and concern for student learning. I loathe hearing people say “in my day we had 40 kids in my class”. I agree but the composition of the classroom is different. In that day there were separate schools for children with special needs. If the government wants to take individual learning seriously they need to look at class size and composition. Currently individualized learning is set up for failure due to lack of funding.

Public education is a beast of a system and it is an old institution. We can’t keep doing things based on the ‘flavour of the month’ nor can we keep doing things the same. We need to change and we need voices at the trustee table that want to direct policy to make change. I intend to be that voice and to advocate for change. I understand it can be a slow process – change is never easy nor quick; but it is possible.
2) What processes could trustees establish to ensure all education partner groups (Teachers, CUPE, Parents, Principals, Sr. Management, etc.) have input into board decisions?
There is a process already in place and it’s a good process. It obviously needs improvement because teachers, parents, other staff do not feel heard. I think it is about being open and transparent, going to staff meetings, hanging out and listening; being available. That being said the trustee job is about setting policy and direction along with maintaining fiscal responsibility. If policy and direction need to change than we should change it. Someone once told me that tradition is sometimes just piss poor practice and I believe that. Just because we have done something the same way for years doesn’t mean we shouldn’t change it. If it’s not working we need to fix it and we need to listen to those who are affected about HOW to change it so it works. I am not in the classroom, the teachers, EA’s and kids are in the classroom – they are experts not me. It’s my job to listen to them and find creative solutions. The process that is in place needs to be more transparent and open. As trustees we need to be accessible.
Erin Evans – Zone 2 Upper Pine/Prespatou (Acclaimed)
3) Describe any experience you have in setting and monitoring large organizational budgets
I was the Non-public Funds Administrative Officer in Connaught for a term. I had to manage the private money that came into the camp. In the past I was the treasurer for the Restorative Justice Society and Student Council for NLC. Currently I own my own business and sit as a board member for the Literacy Society. I was also a trustee from 2009 to 2011.
I admit I see financial statements, and they don’t always make sense, however that is why I use my voice and ask questions. I don’t give up until I am satisfied with the answer and it makes sense.
4) What are ways trustees can help to ensure the needs of all students are being met?
Again, being open, honest, accessible and listening to the needs. Our district is diverse. The needs of the students in Prespetou are not all the same needs as the students at Alwin Holland or Central or Hudsons Hope. We cannot take a 1 size fits all approach to managing the district.
5) Describe times when you have been in a position to advocate or speak out publically for something that you believe in.
I am in that position regularly. As a social worker in community development I am always advocating, educating and raising awareness of important issues. At one point in my career I was the Literacy Outreach Coordinator and my role was to advocate for plain language and bigger picture literacy skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, financial literacy etc... Currently I have a community development role working regional as the Regional Mentor to raise awareness and educate NE British Columbia on the issue of elder and vulnerable adult abuse, neglect and self-neglect. In addition I currently am teaching as a sessional instructor at Northern Lights College in the Social Service Worker Diploma Program and I am continuously speaking about things that I believe in. My type of advocacy is not with picket signs but rather with conversations and education; as a function of consciousness raising. This means I educate myself and go prepared to meetings and depending on the audience have facts and figures to back up what I am saying. For example as the Literacy Outreach Coordinator I had to use business language of budgets, worker satisfaction and employee performance to show how increased literacy can help in their business. I used information from the TD Bank, UNESCO and various other reports to assert that position. Every year I try and support the Women’s Resource Centre in the struggle for power equality by performing in the Vagina Monologues and will continue to speak every chance I get about the struggle of violence against women. I put my name forward to be a trustee to advocate and speak out for what I believe is a sacred institution – public education. I don’t want to see the continued decline of our education system.
Erin Evans – Zone 2 Upper Pine/Prespatou (Acclaimed)
6) What role do you see trustees playing in speaking up for public education in British Columbia?
Trustees and parents have an equal role in speaking for public education. It is my role to guide and set local district policy for what is best for educators, support staff, students and parents. Parents and workers should and do have input into that system. At the provincial level I want to be on the Education Council as that role helps guide and direct provincial policy for changes in the system and can be used as an advocacy body. Additionally the BCSTA meetings are also a place to advocate and meet with ministers to discuss important issues of the district.
7) Is there any other information you want teachers to know about you and why you want to be a school trustee in SD60?
Thank you! I was acclaimed and I look forward to meeting with everyone in my zone. I am excited for whats to come. We are at a tipping point right now in public education and it is my job to ensure public education remains a sacred institution. My grandma was a teacher, my husband is a teacher, and I have several uncles and cousins who are teachers. My husband’s grandfather was a teacher. Education is in my blood!

Thursday 30 October 2014



The following nominated candidates and acclaimed trustees have been invited:
Zone 1 -  Clearview/Cecil Lake:
Tanya Clary
Linda Sewell Stringer

Zone 5 - Fort St John/Alaska Highway:  
  Geoff Bough
Darrel Pasichnyk
Jeffery Richert
Bill Snow
Jaret Thompson

The following trustees elected by acclamation:
Erin Evans (Upper Pine/Prespatou)
Candace Dow (Hudson's Hope)
Ida Campbell (Taylor)

Come prepared to ask questions that matter to you!

Thursday 2 October 2014

Submitted to the Alaska Highway News on October 2, 2014

Wanted:  Public School Advocates

Supporters of a strong public education system are urged to consider lending their voices to the cause by letting their name stand for election to the position of school trustee in School District #60 this fall. The Civic Elections taking place on November 15th will be electing candidates for an unprecedented 4-year term, and candidates must declare their intention to run by October 10th.

An important role of a school trustee is to be the voice of the public on education issues.  That public voice was absent in our district during the recent job action, and we want to encourage candidates to run who are willing to speak publicly on behalf of public education.

While there is labor peace in education for the time being, the issue of underfunding remains very much at the forefront.  BC remains far below the national average of per pupil spending by government, and the continued lack of services and resources still plagues our students. Parents have called for more support for students and classrooms, and trustees have the obligation to pursue these resources on behalf of their constituents.  

We need citizens who are passionate about making improvements to public education to take on this challenge. The provincial government has not demonstrated the willingness to adequately fund the public education system, and only reached a contract with teachers because of public pressure.  We need to elect trustees who will embody the voice of the public and maintain that pressure.  If you value public education, please consider running for School Trustee. Our children and grandchildren deserve a better-funded public education system.

Kevin Frankham, Local Elections Chair
Michele Wiebe, President Peace River North Teachers’ Association

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Congratulations teachers! We have stuck to our guns and will be voting on contract ratification on Thursday!   (Polling details TBA)
Despite all the talk in the media, we do not yet have any of the tentative language that we will be voting on. Michele will get that out to us as soon as possible!
We understand that discussions regarding a 'return to work' plan are on-going - please DO NOT go in to your school before the details are determined!
We will continue to maintain picket lines today and tomorrow.

Monday 15 September 2014


The Peace River North Teachers’ Association will make available interest-free loans to those members whose financial situation has reached an EMERGENCY level as a result of a recent strike or general hardship.

Applications open September 15th 8:00am and close September 21, 10:00pm. Time stamp will not impact decisions.

 We anticipate cheques being available by Tuesday, September 23rd.

Each application will be assessed on its own merit.

The maximum amount for a loan based on availability of funds is $1000

The terms of repayment are as follows:
* To be paid back by June 30, 2015
* Or, if leaving the district prior to June 30, 2015, to be paid in full before you leave

Priority for applications will be given in the following order:
* Single parent/ single income parent with dependents living at home
* Teaching couples with dependents living at home
* Other teachers, based on need

We will try to accommodate as many applicants as possible; therefore, your requested amounts may not be fully funded.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Financial Support via BCTF Advantage:

Earlier this summer we advised members that our Advantage partner, Ellis Mortgages Canada (EMC) was available to provide a free service to BCTF members to assist them through this difficult period.  EMC is a financial services firm that may be able to assist current homeowners with restructuring their debt in a variety of ways:
·       reduce mortgage payments
·       access funds for short or long term needs
·       reduce or eliminate credit cards and loan debt
·       arrange lines of credit
Over summer 2014, the average size for lines of credit for BCTF members has been around $25,000.  Deals have processed in as little as three days, typically taking about a week.  In 2013 EMC was able to save clients an average of $450 per month in regular mortgage payments (for those seeking to reduce monthly payments).

All BCTF members are encouraged to contact EMC to discuss your options in order to ensure you are making the best financial decisions.  EMC representatives can be reached at 1-604-739-0320.

Some BCTF members who have worked with EMC recently shared their thoughts on EMC:

"A high level of expertise and prompt, personal service—[we] trust our analyst to get the job done.  [Our broker] understood our financial situation precisely and was never judgmental.  Best rates anywhere!"

“This was my third mortgage with Ellis Mortgages and I have been completely impressed with the patience and time given to explain each step of the process and for the mortgage analyst to find out about my individual situation.  I felt the mortgage analyst genuinely cared to help obtain the best rates she could and had my best interest at heart.  This is very important to me when choosing who to do business with.  I am so sorry I didn't know about Ellis Mortgages earlier.  I highly recommend them and have no reservations about doing so.”

“Thank you EMC! Your staff consistently demonstrates professional, knowledgeable advice in a patient and personable manner. I feel confident refinancing my mortgage with your company.  My sincere thanks.”

“I appreciated [my broker’s] hand-holding and understanding during those days when I’d call every few hours.”

“Very hands on; kept me in the loop.  Very happy with the service, thank you!”

“My mortgage analyst saved me stress and time.  He was courteous, polite, and helpful.  He answered all my questions, was very patient, and generous with his time.”


Sarbrinder Lalli
Assistant Director
Income Security Division
British Columbia Teachers' Federation
Toll free: 1-800-663-9163 Local 1890

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Here is the link to the amazing YouTube video created by teachers!  FN teachers rock!
Please check out this Global TV interview.  Well worth watching!

Tuesday 9 September 2014

September 9, 2014

Have your say and vote tomorrow

Every BCTF member will have the chance to vote tomorrow to support the BCTF Executive Committee’s recommendation calling on BCPSEA to drop Article E.80 and enter into binding arbitration. Teachers would return to work once the government agrees to this process, meaning that schools could reopen promptly.

Support for binding arbitration is picking up speed throughout the province. Mayors, counsellors, school trustees, the NDP, and affiliated unions of the BC Federation of Labour are also calling on the government to enter into binding arbitration as a fair and practical way to resolve this dispute.

Each local will be conducting the vote in the way that suits them best. Some locals have decided to take ballot boxes to the picket lines while others will conduct the vote at local offices. If you are unsure of the voting arrangements in your community, please contact your local president for more information. Every vote counts, so please take the time to have your say.

Public sector unions write to Premier Clark: Stop using our settlements as fodder for your rhetoric

BC public sector unions are sending a message to the Premier that they stand in solidarity with BC teachers and are urging her to accept the proposal for binding arbitration.

 “The Premier is attempting to use other settlements in the public sector to create a divide among workers in the province,” said BC Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair.  “This tactic is not only an insult to working people in BC, but it also shows how little the Premier understands and respects the collective bargaining process.”

The letter states:

This set of negotiationslike every other table in the public sectorhas unique challenges and opportunities. Each union goes to the bargaining table to address their own specific needs; we strongly support the BCTF in determining their own path and negotiating for a fair collective agreement that ensures quality education for all of the children in BC.

We have each negotiated our own collective agreements. For those who have settled, wage increases and benefit improvements varied from sector to sector. They all have unique features and each path to settlement was different.

We urge you to immediately stop attributing your refusal to bargain critical issues with teachers because you want to be “fair to other public sector workers.”
If you want to be fair to all public sector workers, send the outstanding issues to binding arbitration as proposed by the BCTF and remove E80 from the bargaining table.

Our unions stand in solidarity with BC teachers in their efforts to win a fair collective agreement and improve educational resources for BC’s children.

Read their letter in full here.
September 9, 2014 – 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM (advance poll)
September 10, 2014 - 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM
(regular poll)
Voting will be available ONLY at the PRNTA Office at 10142 100th Avenue (just East of the Lido Theatre)
Street parking is limited but there is an open lot across from the Lido Theatre
 The ballot reads:
Do you agree with the BCTF Executive Committee recommendation that, if BCPSEA drops E80 and agrees to BCTF’s proposal to enter into binding interest arbitration and to leave court-related matters to the court, the current strike be ended?
Yes               ☐ No

Thursday 4 September 2014

From Christian Obeck

Parents Actively Protest on September 2nd!
You want to know why the BCTF and the Liberals are in a current stalemate in their negotiations. It's pretty simple, but I can't believe it took me until now to figure it out. If I’m wrong, please let me know.
Everything goes back to Justice Griffin's ruling by the BC Supreme Court. As many of you know, Justice Griffin ruled against the BC Liberals and found them guilty of illegally tearing up a legally-binding, negotiated contract (a contract which had class size and composition language in it). The Liberals were also found to have negotiated in bad faith, having goaded the BCTF into a strike position.
Because the ruling is currently under appeal, the Liberals have been able to avoid re-instating the classroom size and composition language into the present contract. But this is the BIG CRUX, and this is why we are in a current stalemate: if the Liberals legislate teachers back to work, they will confirm to the courts that they are once again unable to negotiate a contract with teachers. The Griffin ruling will therefore remain as the most 'current' language in the contract. But, and this is a big but, if the BCTF 'accepts' the current offer on the table (an offer that does not have any class size or composition guarantees), then the Griffin ruling (moving forward) will be seen as null and void. In other words, a 'negotiated' agreement will be viewed as the most present and legal contract moving forward.
And that is why we are at a current stalemate in bargaining. If the BCTF accepts anything 'less' than what the courts have already awarded them (but actually don't yet have because of the appeal), then they will have to accept these terms moving forward. It will invariably trump the Griffin ruling and any hopes of re-establishing classroom size and composition to past levels. Why would the BCTF accept anything less than what the courts have told them is legally theirs?
In my opinion, the BCTF have no choice but to NOT accept the current Liberal offer, an offer that is not even close to what Justice Griffin has already awarded them. As a result, it is absolutely crucial that the BCTF out-wait the Liberals and stay on strike. And yet, on the flip-side this is extremely difficult for teaching professionals who both want to start school on time AND earn their first pay cheque in 10 weeks.
The only hope, then, is that the people of this province do not allow the Liberals to keep schools closed through September. Because, in all honesty, they are NOT acting on behalf of our children, they are merely taking a political stance that (yes, I agree) would allow them to continue their fiscal austerity when it comes to funding education. And, to a certain degree, this was their campaign promise. And the people of BC did vote them in.
The BCTF simply can't fold on this one. The courts have spoken. They won fair and square in the courts. Only an appeal keeps them away from this. The BCTF (teachers) are simply standing up for what the courts have legally awarded them.
It is a historical moment in BC regarding how education is funded. While we all want our children in school, hopefully the above has helped to explain why we are at a current stalemate. Accepting a deal that is anything less at this moment in time just doesn’t make sense. The Liberals hold the cards in terms of starving teachers out; the teachers hold the biggest card, however: the Griffin ruling. Kids and parents hold no cards--except for your willingness to protest starting September 2nd.
As a parent, and now knowing what we know, I think its time that we all take a side. We need to get off the fence and be active. Whatever side you choose, please be active on September 2nd.
Christian Obeck