Vancouver could revert to one-week spring break in 2014
Schools in Vancouver could revert back to a one-week spring break next year.
The Vancouver School Board introduced a two-week break several years ago in order to save money, extending the school day by a few minutes to make up for lost teaching time.
School board vice chair Mike Lombardi says teachers, administrators and office staff have gone along with the plan in past years, but teachers have not signed off this time, even though the deadline was March 31.
"We're hoping they will agree so that we can get the savings in our budget," he said. "If not, we will revert back to the one-week spring break."
The board estimates it saves $100,000 a day when schools are closed.
"I know a lot of our teachers support the concept of having that school closure, the school board supports it to save money, but unfortunately we feel the cost of it is being totally borne by our members, like our teachers on call, who put in the extra work but don't receive any benefits," said Gerry Kent, president of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Association.
"Every other teacher has the ability to work a longer day and when the schools are closed for that extra week, they receive their full benefits and their full pay … The teachers on call work the extra minutes but they're not getting significant benefits."
The provincial government has given the two sides until Friday to work out a deal, but Kent isn't optimistic.
Other districts like Burnaby, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Richmond and Surrey have already decided to continue with a two-week break.
Kevin Kaardal, superintendent of Burnaby's school board, said he was surprised the Vancouver school board was considering the change just when Burnaby decided to adopt a two-week break.
"That was also one of our goals," Kaardal said. "A common calendar to synchronize our spring breaks ... to have some savings and work together."