The Chilliwack Board of Education is invited parents, students and partners in education to provide feedback on next year’s calendar, which includes a return of the one-week spring break. (Progress file)

Spring break slimmed down for Chilliwack students

Draft calendar only includes one week for spring, public feedback invited

Next year’s school calendar is sure to draw some cheers and jeers.

And the Chilliwack School District is welcoming all comments on their draft calendar for 2018/2019, voted on at Tuesday’s meeting, as they work toward approving it by the provincial March 31 deadline.

The major change in the calendar is change from a two-week spring break to one week. Chilliwack has had a two-week break since 2014, and the province introduced legislation for school districts to determine their own calendars back in 2012.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Evelyn Novak, superintendent of schools, explained that for those years the district has had a Letter of Understanding with the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association (CTA). That’s been required, since the two-week break means teachers working beyond the hours of work as defined in their collective agreement (to make up the missed week throughout the year.)

“In the Letter of Understanding, Elementary teachers have varied around 25.41 weekly instructional hours, which is above the maximum 25 Hours of Work as defined by the Collective Agreement. Middle/Secondary teachers have had additional weekly Hours of Work exceeding the parameters of the Collective Agreement, averaging around 27.83, above the 27.5 Hours of Work,” Novak’s explanation to the school board states.

The district says they were not able to reach that same agreement this year so far, and so that two-week break will not be possible.

“Given the parameters of the Collective Agreement regarding Teacher Hours of Work in conjunction with the required legislated instructional hours for students, including not being able to reach a signed Letter of Understanding with the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association for this year’s 2017-2018 Local School Calendar with a 2-week Spring break, it is not possible to have a 2-week Spring break incorporated into the proposed 2018-2019 school year.”

The district has also previously had a Letter of Agreement in place with CUPE as well, in good faith, to compensate 10-month staff for the additional spring break days. There was no agreement reached with the CUPE for this current year, Novak’s report stated.

The Board of Education is hoping to hear back from parents, employees and partners in education on the proposed draft calendar, and their survey is available online until 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13. The link, at www.sd33.bc.ca, also includes the full decision note, draft calendar and a draft colour calendar.

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