Representatives from the Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union held an information rally outside North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice’s office on Monday afternoon demanding a fair deal. (Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

WATCH: Prince Rupert Teachers’ Union rally outside MLA Rice’s Office

The union is asking for a fair deal as they negotiate a new contract

The Prince Rupert District Teachers’ Union held an information rally outside North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice’s office on Monday.

“We know that students in B.C. are being funded $1,800 less than the national average and that’s been very concerning to us,” said Raegan Sawka, representative and former president of the union. “When students don’t have adequate funding for public education they suffer with resources, not enough individual attention and the supports they need to succeed and thrive.”

The union is also in a funding model review and negotiating a new contract for teachers with the province.

(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)

“We’re hoping that Jennifer and the public advocate for adequate funding for our contract ensuring that kids have the supports they need,” Sawka said.

Sawka said teachers across B.C. are the lowest salaried and the schools are the lowest funded across the country. Support for complex classrooms and retention and recruitment for teachers have been problems across the province which unions have been protesting for several months.

READ MORE: School returns in B.C. with uncertainty surrounding contract for teachers

“We’re concerned about teacher shortages and having enough resources and supplies to support students. It’s been a long term struggle, as we updated our signs for the rally we had to change it from $1,000 less per student ten years ago, to now $1,800 less. So we are not keeping up with parity across the country,” said Sawka.

Sawka said the union has been in communication with MLA Rice over the past several months, the last time being in June, where they shared their concerns and asked that she take them back to the provincial caucus. Rice, who was visiting Haida Gwaii during the rally, was unavailable for comment.

READ MORE: B.C. education minister says focus is on new curriculum, filling on-call teacher ranks

Support for complex classrooms and retention and recruitment for teachers have been problems across the province which unions have been protesting for several months.(Jenna Cocullo / The Northern View)


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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