Good morning, County! I hope that all of you who partook in the Thanksgiving tradition are enjoying your turkey sandwiches today.
First of all, thank you to everyone who responded with your concerns about the extended P-2 school day. I have amassed quite a list of issues and will bring them to the attention of HRSB. They did have the right to extend the school day, but it is my hope that, with the help of your input, they will recognize a need to provide more supports for teachers who are struggling with the transition.
I also had a few questions last week about the news report from CBC in which the Auditor General, expressed concerns about the state of the Teachers Pension Plan. Here in Halifax County we have tried very hard to keep the membership well-informed on the state of the pension, and I would hope that last week’s report did not catch too many teachers unawares. However, it should be noted that the wage freeze has done nothing to help the situation, and with the added blow of the loss of the service award, there is some cause for concern. Our pension plan is somewhat unique in that the liability is shared by both the government and ourselves, which means that both sides must agree to any change in the plan. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will continue to provide updates as we can.
Beyond the pension, Holiday concerts seem to be at the forefront of many teachers’ minds, based on my email in-box. I can’t stress enough that there is no contractual expectation that teachers are required to stay after school for ANY extracurricular event, including holiday concerts. Your school may decide to hold such an event, but any participation after hours would be purely voluntary. I have heard of some schools choosing to hold these events during the day, but allowing instructional time to be given up for concerts and assemblies would be entirely at the discretion of the employer.
Finally, a special shout out to Mona MacNeil and Jason Jennings for offering to replace Preman Edwards as our Halifax County Social and Wellness chair at the executive table. This is a large portfolio that entails such things as Movie Night and the retirement event. The election will be held this Wednesday, and I wish both candidates the very best of luck.
That’s it for this week, all. I hope you enjoyed your coffee and treats last week. If you did not receive a Tim’s card, please let me know.