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BCTF jumpstarts negotiations

The B.C.'s teachers' union presented a new contract proposal to the employer on Friday, kicking off what was expected to be three days of intense negotiations before Tuesday's planned strike.

The package was expected to include a lowered wage demand and other concessions, but no details were made public as both sides push to prevent the province-wide strike.

Premier Christy Clark says she didn't want to get her hopes up too high, but still believes a settlement can be reached at the table — possibly during this coming weekend.

Clark's comments come shortly after she sent a revised education mandate letter to Education Minister Peter Fassbender instructing him to present cabinet options for ways to restructure collective bargaining with the teachers' union once a deal is reached.

She also urged the minister to implement previously committed tax credits for teachers who participate in extra-curricular activities and parents for back-to-school costs.

A special meeting of the Vancouver Board of Education approved a motion Friday urging the premier to meet personally with the BC Teachers' Federation, introduce a mediator into negotiations and supply a new mandate to the government agent to bargain class size and composition.

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