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While largely affecting administrative functions, the job action also means teachers won’t provide report card comments. They will, however, submit grades and input them into the computer system so that reports can be sent home on time — unlike last spring’s job action, during which elementary teachers submitted marks only in hard copy to principals.
While there is a ratified agreement with the provincial branch of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and the government and school boards — which provides a lump sum payment of 1 per cent and a 1.5 per cent salary increase over the three-year contract — deals between union locals and individual school boards on non-monetary items need to be hammered out in many jurisdictions across the province.
Some boards around the province have local deals, including Peel, which was the target of a full-out strike by teachers last spring. In Durham, also hit by a secondary teacher strike, a deal on all but one item is in place, and that is being sent to arbitration.
“Because it is broken into two-tier bargaining … it means, even though we have a central deal, bargaining is not considered over until local deals are ratified,” Michael Barrett, president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association and chair of the Durham District School Board, has told the Star.
“We will be talking to parents about what ‘net zero’ means,” Weatherup told the Star. “At the local level, you are going to see children with special needs getting zero supports” in kindergarten classrooms because, though they have needs they haven’t been identified as such and therefore no extra help is provided.