Teachers at École la Prairie, Red Deer’s francophone school, are currently voting on whether to strike.
The school is part of Centre-Nord School Division, which employs about 278 full and part-time teachers, and also has schools in Edmonton, St Albert, Fort McMurray, Legal, Sherwood Park, Camrose, Jasper, Wainwright, Beaumont and Lloydminster.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association said Centre-Nord is one of only four school boards in the province to not reach a local settlement for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.
The strike vote is being held Jan. 25 and 26, and teachers have already formed a strike committee that would determine when strike notice would be served, which by law could happen at any point within 120 days after the vote.
If teachers vote to strike, they will be able to strike after providing 72 hours notice.
Éric Cloutier, president of L’Unite locale francophone No. 24, said teachers have already voted 98 per cent in favour of authorizing the ATA to request the strike vote.
“Teachers would prefer to be on the job continuing to support students and families during these difficult times, but we don’t believe that Francophone teachers should be treated as second-rate compared to the rest of the teachers in the province either,” Cloutier said.
He said negotiation challenges include a wellness account and administrator lieu days.
“Last-ditch efforts were made to reach a negotiated settlement, but the board remained entrenched on key issues for teachers. They have left teachers now with very little choice but to take job action.”