Union agreement blocks two-week spring break

Students in Prince Rupert will not be getting an extra week off school next year.

Students in Prince Rupert will not be getting an extra week off school next year.

The Prince Rupert School District (SD52) considered two calendars for the 2014/2015 school year during a March 25 meeting: One following the standard school calendar that starts after Labour Day and ends in late June with a one week spring break, and the second with the same starting and end dates but with a two week spring break.

In the second calendar additional minutes would be added to each school day to make up the required instructional time.

Both options were sent to the district’s partner groups — including the Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union (PRDTU), the International Union of Operating Engineers, the District Parent Advisory Council and the Aboriginal Education Council — for consideration.

Superintendent Sandra Jones said the partner groups were largely in favour of the two week spring break, but an issue arose with language in the collective agreement with the PRDTU that only allows for a one-week spring break.

Administrative staff held a number of meetings with PRDTU representatives to explore doing a mid-contract modification for the year to allow for a two week break.

“We had some very productive meetings and we did make some progress, but in the end we weren’t able to come to an agreement,” said Jones, declining to specify what the parties couldn’t agree on.

Therefore, the board was only given one school calendar option to vote on for the 2014/2015 school year.

“It’s unfortunate that couldn’t be settled,” said trustee Janet Beil.