Contentious NorKam IB program now with LRB
The superintendent of the Kamloops-Thompson school district hopes to know as soon as today (Feb. 2) what the next step will be in SD73’s ongoing battle with local teachers over a proposed International Baccalaureate (IB) program at NorKam secondary.
Terry Sullivan told KTW the district’s application to force the local teachers’ union to allow its members to receive IB training should be in the hands of the Labour Relations Board today.
“Then, what the LRB does with that application, they determine whether they want to hear it through writing or through a hearing,” he said, adding assistant superintendent John Churchley would represent SD73 if the board calls a hearing.
“We’re hoping for a decision by next week.”
NorKam’s IB program — which would be the first such curriculum in B.C.’s Interior, according to Sullivan — was slated to begin in the fall of 2012.
A number of students had already enrolled with intentions of taking the highly respected courses.
However, the process of having teachers receive IB training is being held up by the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association, which feels the training is too expensive at a time when the district has been preaching belt-tightening.
“When funds are siphoned from a public-education system that is already feeling the pressure of underfunding, every student will pay the price,” KTTA president Jason Karpuk said in a statement released this week.
“There is not enough money to fund existing programs, yet the [SD73] board has found over a quarter-million dollars, plus significant additional funds in years to come, for the IB program.”
Karpuk called the situation “a fabricated crisis.”
SD73 officials, meanwhile, feel the KTTA’s stance is due to the ongoing job action by the province’s public-school teachers.
Sullivan admitted the school district doesn’t stand a good chance if the LRB views its application “with a narrow scope,” but said he thinks SD73 will succeed if the larger picture is considered.
“If they [the LRB] hear it from the perspective of the job action harming students, I think we’ll be successful,” he said, adding the issue should have never come as far as it has.
“We would have much preferred this matter to be resolved at the local level. But, I don’t think we have any other recourse than to do what we’re doing.”