Tentative deal reached with Ottawa public high school teachers
Published Thursday, November 22, 2012 6:27AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 22, 2012 6:00PM EST
The Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) has reached a tentative two-year deal with its high school teachers.
The agreement was reached early Thursday morning, with job action by teachers set to end at 8 a.m. that day.
"I've never been so happy to do cafeteria duty in my career," said teacher Geoff McCulloch.
"A lot of the teachers are glad the settlement is in place and they can do the things they love to do with kids," said Tom Schultz, principal at John McRae Public School.
Jennifer Adams, OCDSB director of education, said teachers will also be free to resume volunteering for extracurricular activities - although that doesn't mean they will immediately resume.
"We're hopeful now that the tentative agreement is there, some teachers will come back and do some of the great things they've been doing over the years," she said.
Both of those actions were to protest the provincial government's anti-strike, wage freeze bill which came into effect in September.
Deal needs government, trustee approval before vote
Full details will not be released until the teachers have voted on the new deal, which comes after ministry and school board approval.
Dan Maxwell, the local president of the Ontario Secondary School Federation, says he believes teachers will be pleased with the deal.
"We're certainly recommending the deal to our folks, I don't think that will take away from the fact they're upset about process and how they were forced into it," he said.
Students and parents at John McRae said they're happy to see things return to normal, with a parent-orgainzed fashion show set for Wednesday.
"Even though (the lack of teachers) hasn't been a restrictive factor, I just ran on the premise that the plug could be pulled at any given time," said parent Jill Reeves.
"I'm actually pleased with that because I'm in Yearbook and that's being really affected . . . we don't have content for the yearbook," said Grade 12 student Camilla Dinardo.
The union says the proposed deal is similar to other agreements reached in Ontario in recent weeks.
The school board has six other bargaining units to deal with, including office staff, custodians and educational assistants.
Five of those six groups are still in a legal strike position and negotiations are set to continue, not to mention elementary school teachers and their Dec. 3 legal strike date.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr