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Schools ready if settlement reached

Unlike a handful of school districts in the province, School District 23 will be ready to open at a moments notice if and when a settlement is reached in the current dispute between striking teachers and the province.

District Superintendent, Hugh Gloster, says it's been a normal summer in terms of getting schools ready for the eventual return of teachers and students to the classrooms.

"Our administrators are at work, I met with a group of them this morning, and we meet with all of them again tomorrow," says Gloster.

"They are going ahead with their preparations to open schools. There has been no interference with our ability to open schools - as soon as we have the resolve in terms of the labour dispute it would be business as usual."

Like most parents across the province, Gloster says their fingers are crossed that a resolution can be reached prior to the scheduled return to the classroom Sept 2.

Regardless of when a resolution is reached, Gloster says schools would be able to open immediately.

"Worst case scenario, if a settlement isn't concluded before Sept 2, then effectively the day after the settlement is reached school would open. We're essentially ready to go."

Gloster asks parents to check with local media outlets or the District website for news regardless of the outcome of talks.

As for what form of job action teachers will take if a settlement is not reached, Gloster says that is up to the BC Teacher's Federation.

While the previous school year concluded with a full blown, province-wide strike, that isn't necessarily how a new year would begin.

Gloster says the BCTF has not yet announced whether it will shut down all schools or begin with a phase 1 or phase 2 job action.

As for the Canadian Student Leadership Conference set for the latter part of September in Kelowna, Gloster says strike or no strike, it will go ahead.

"We've made a commitment nationally and we have a huge delegation of folks coming from I think every province and pretty close to every territory.

A lot of those folks have booked flights and made commitments so we will be going ahead. What we may have to do is make adjustments to venues, but in some form we definitely plan to go ahead."

About 900 students and administrators are expected to attend the conference Sept 23 to 27.

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