Rainbow Board signs deal with teachers

SUDBURY—The Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) has agreed to amend its memorandum of understanding to its collective agreement with its secondary and elementary teachers unions and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“On Tuesday our teachers will take part in a PA (professional activity) day and will be able to focus on getting ready for what they love to do, teach, with schools opening Wednesday,” stated Norm Blaseg, director of education for the RDSB on Wednesday. “I’m sure the teachers’ federations will be happy with the agreement, and parents of school children won’t have to be concerned about extra-curricular activities not taking place in the schools this year. Everything will move forward.”

“Back in the springtime the teachers’ federations and the Ministry of Education (MOE) came to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement. School boards weren’t at the table,” explained Mr. Blaseg. “Since then talks have been held as to what would be part of the agreement and what financial supports we would be provided by the province.”

Talks have been taking place with the ministry and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and CUPE for at least the past three months working on the nuances for each, on the order of implementing the agreement, said Mr. Blaseg. “Implementing the agreement with all three would have cost our board $1.4 million,” he said. “The (MOE) has now committed to paying that $1.4 million. So it was feasible for us to comfortably go to the trustees at a meeting last night (Tuesday) to sign the deal.”

“What has been agreed will be good for teachers and staff members,” said Mr. Blaseg, pointing out that the MOU amends contracts imposed under Bill 115, such as boosting sick day payouts, reducing unpaid days off and several other improvements. “There were a lot of things that we had to make sure we would be provided the dollars for and the ministry has now committed these funds. We hope that we can now move forward and we are very pleased the financial supports necessary to move ahead have been provided by the ministry.”

The RDSB board trustees passed a motion at its Tuesday meeting, as required by the ministry of education, which has been appended its MOU to the collective agreement for 2012-2014 for each of the three unions, the OSSTF, ETFO and CUPE.

Tom Sasvari