KAWARTHA LAKES-Students who take part in school-day sports are on the losing end of a spat between teachers unions and the school board in Kawartha Lakes.
At Tuesday nights Trillium Lakelands District School Board meeting, members voted to scrap school day sports including tournament participation as well as field trips for secondary students.
Director of Education Larry Hope blamed the decision on a local work-to-rule campaign that includes teachers no longer filling in for colleagues.
“The school board may not have sufficient secondary supply teachers to provide adequate coverage for teacher absences. For this reason, if a teacher is absent, extra curricular activities such as sporting events and field trips, will be cancelled.” Hope stated on January 21st.
However the union representing secondary school teachers says their strike action has nothing to do with this decision.
“None of OSSTF’s sanctions target extra-curricular activities or field trips. These sanctions apply equally to all school boards in Ontario.” Union President Colin Matthew said in a press release. “The number of occasional (supply) teachers on TLDSB’s list is limited in the collective agreement between OSSTF and TLDSB in order to ensure that there is both adequate availability of occasional teachers and adequate work for those teachers.”
Matthews went on to explain that the board is in a position to immediately hire eight occasional teachers should they choose to do so.
The school board sees it differently.
“Secondary occasional teachers are added to the supply list on a continual basis where possible” said the board in an update. “However, due to contractual obligations to OSSTF, TLDSB is limited in the number of occasional teachers permitted to be added to the supply list. When occasional teacher lists become depleted, the board attempts to replenish as quickly as possible.”
“At this time OSSTF members remain committed to voluntary extra-curricular activities and field trips as scheduled including drama and music festivals and regional and provincial athletic championships.” Matthew says.
The move means that kids who have spent months preparing for competition will not be able to particiapte.