School board calls for Minister to negotiate an end to strikes

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The head of the Renfrew County District School Board is calling on Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce to get back to the bargaining table and end the “disruptions” that are affecting students across the province.

Schools across Ontario will be closed this Friday as all four major teacher unions have announced a co-ordinated one-day strike for February 21.

In a letter to Lecce dated February 14, RCDSB chair Susan Humphries says she is writing on behalf of her fellow trustees to “emphasize our position that the province’s world-renowned, publicly funded education system must be maintained and even enhanced.”

“As public school trustees, our primary responsibility is to advocate for the needs of our students, staff and school communities. In fact, our oath of office compels us to commit to working diligently and faithfully in the pursuit of a strong, inclusive education system for all,” she says.

“You have spoken about being an ‘unabashed, unapologetic defender of public education’,” Humphries adds.

“We share this commitment. We urge you to direct your negotiating team to return to the bargaining table and engage in meaningful dialogue with the federation leadership. It’s time to put an end to the disruptions that are affecting education across our province.

“As a member of OPSBA (the Ontario Public School Boards Association), we will continue to advocate for a well-funded and world-renowned, publicly funded education system.

“The needs of all of our students, staff and school communities are at the centre of everything we do.”

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