Check-In, January 15th, 2017

Hello County! Happy Martin Luther King day.

So, I want to start off today with a bit of clarification.

Last week, I sent out a message that had been distributed by HRSB just before the Holiday break around the leaves. Somehow, it seems, the message has been interpreted that all leaves, even article 60, can be summarily denied because of a shortage of subs. That is simply not case.

To start off with, HRSB announced: All non-mandatory professional development offered by the HRSB will be postponed. The operative phrase there is “offered by HRSB”. In this instance, the employer has decided that the PD they offer to their staff to achieve the various goals of the board needs to be curtailed, for the time being, in order to reduce the need for subs. They are well within their rights to do so. As well, the HRSB has full sway over what they determine as “mandatory”, primarily because it is their PD.

Now, the confusion, I think, comes in the form of PD that may be considered non-mandatory, but is not offered through HRSB. This would include anything covered under article 60, including conferences, and in-service promotion grants. To be very clear: THESE SHOULD NOT BE IMPACTED BY THIS DECISION!

The thing of it is that the steps outlined by HRSB are within their power. Things like unpaid leave and professional development they offer are within their control. They have taken steps to limit access to these, which they hope will help solve the current substitute supply problem.

It is not, however, within the purview of HRSB to universally deny members access to article 60, (nor should this announcement be taken as an attempt to do so.) Article 60 is part of the provincial agreement, and that has not been altered. NSTU members still have the right to apply for any and all article 60 funding grants, and expect that their application will be fairly considered.

Now, it should be remembered that teachers still need principals to approve applications, and that principals have the right to deny. However, the measure by which the merit of those applications is determined should not have changed because of HRSB’s announcement. If the steps HRSB has taken work, there should now be more substitutes available, and the ability of teachers to pursue professional development opportunities, as per the T.P.A., should not be impacted at this time.

I hope that provides some clarification, and would encourage you to contact me if you have any questions.

Further to the sub shortage, the details of how the “permits to teach” are to be handled are still being ironed out. As far as we have been told, no permits have yet been issued. However, we know that when this happens, many folks, particularly subs, will have questions. If you know a sub who has any concerns about this issue, they can contact any one of the local presidents. We are:

Grant Frost (902) 468-6788

Rob Wigle (902) 499-1452

Ryan Lutes (902) 497-9254

Finally, all permanent/probationary teachers currently assigned to Cole Harbour District High, Eastern Passage Education Centre, Ocean View Elementary, Seaside Elementary and Tallahassee Elementary are welcome to attend a meeting to discuss the staffing process for the upcoming year in regards to the opening of the new school. Representatives from HRSB and the NSTU will be present at EPEC on Tuesday, January 23, and will walk teachers through the process.

That’s it for this week, County. Have a good one.

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