‘Alberta insulted school boards’

The provincial government insulted school boards and the people who elected them in seeking a deal for the province’s teachers, said the president of the Alberta School Boards Association on Monday.

The provincial government insulted school boards and the people who elected them in seeking a deal for the province’s teachers, said the president of the Alberta School Boards Association on Monday.

In a speech to 335 delegates representing 59 school boards on Monday, Jacquie Hansen said the province did a disservice to Albertans and violated the trust of local boards. The ASBA is meeting at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer.

“After building a strong relationship with school boards and acknowledging the value of local decision making, this government violated our trust and, in doing so, certainly compromised any respect that existed,” she said.

The ASBA had been involved in the bargaining process to get a new deal for teachers for more than two years, but were left out of the final negotiations.

The Alberta Teachers Association, which had earlier walked away from the tripartite talks, ended up negotiating a deal directly with the government.

That agreement fell short of receiving the required unanimity from Alberta’s 62 school boards, leaving the government to legislate a retroactive four-year deal for educators.

“It is truly unimaginable to bargain without the employer at the table, but this is exactly what happened,” said Hansen.

“It is not our deal. It never was our deal.”

Despite the “offensive” process, the ASBA will work with the government going forward in administering the pact, said Hansen. With the new agreement and tight budgets, though, she said “we don’t know if services are going to be exactly the same.”

While Hansen will not be continuing her presidency beyond the fall’s local election season, she said a new bargaining model is needed for the next negotiation period.

“We believe that the voice of school boards has to be there, not only as employers, but as voices of the community. We have a gripe with the process, which we found to be offensive.”

Despite the fact that 61 of Alberta’s 62 boards approved of the deal negotiated without the ASBA earlier this year, Hansen said many did so reluctantly, feeling cornered. The Red Deer Public School board ratified the agreement, which featured only one salary increase and one lump sum payment for teachers, by a 4-3 vote, but spoke out about the process.

Board chair Lawrence Lee said for future negotiations, he hopes the ASBA will take a stiffer stance on promoting local governance models to the province.

Red Deer Public trustees supported a motion at the ASBA conference on Monday that would have called on the government to create a school board-controlled employer bargaining association that would take over the bargaining certificate for deals from the ATA. The motion failed, however, with the four Calgary and Edmonton school boards opposing it.

Lee said the motion represented a shift back to local autonomy that he thinks is necessary.

“In the 125 years we’ve been a school jurisdiction, we’ve always had positive relationships with our teachers. We’ve always been able to work and negotiate in their best interests,” he said.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson was scheduled to address the conference on Monday night.

The gathering continues today with a focus on the arts in education.

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Most Read