I am writing on behalf of the Cumberland Community Schools Society (CCSS) to express our concern regarding the current contract dispute between the BC Government and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). If the contract dispute and associated job action continue into the fall, the programs and services we offer will be greatly impacted. This will affect not only families with children in the school system, but community members of all ages.
CCSS is a registered charity that works in partnership with local schools to provide valuable programs and services to Cumberland residents. These include a healthy food program, with subsidies available for families in need, free after-school programs and community programming for all ages.
We are currently in the process of opening a youth centre that will provide much needed services for vulnerable youth in our community. With the schools closed due to job action, we are unable to provide these important services.
For some students, public school and the additional programs we offer are the only consistent support system they have. Access to healthy food and a variety of learning and recreational opportunities are being taken away from our students and community members.
CCSS also provides employment for Cumberland residents and supports local businesses whenever possible. The inability to run programming will have a significant impact on our local economy and the relationships we have built with other community organizations, local businesses and individuals.
We are writing to respectfully request that the BC Government and the BCTF work with an independent mediator toward a balanced and equitable contract settlement for all parties involved. We urge both parties to work as quickly as possible to resolve the dispute and sign a mediated contract.
Cumberland Community Schools Society