Pension information

There has been a small number of teachers who have had pension service reported incorrectly by their board to the Teachers' Pension Plan (TPP), for periods when they worked less-than-half-time prior to 1993. As well, members may have other periods of service reported incorrectly.

All members are advised by both the BCTF and the TPP that they should check the accuracy of the service recorded and reported to them annually on their Member's Benefit Statements. Neither the local, nor the BCTF, have personal pension information for members, and while members receive this advice, they do not always act on it.

As service is usually not adjusted after retirement, the most important time for members to ensure the accuracy of their service is when they retire. If a member believes that their service is inaccurate, they should check what was reported by the employer.

It would be helpful if you could pass this message on to any teachers who are retiring this year.

Any teachers with questions regarding this message can contact me at the numbers below.
Arnie Lambert
Director, Income Security Division
British Columbia Teachers' Federation

Message from BCTF Table Officers

The BCTF’s FSA campaign has been truly “member-driven” in
the current situation. Clearly the campaign has been
effective. Our initial strategy, of having teachers
communicate with parents about the negative consequences
of these high-stakes provincial tests, worked to raise the
awareness of parents and the public about the harmful
effects of these tests.

When the Ministry responded with measures to constrain our
actions, we were able to find alternative means of
delivering our message (the two-page Georgia Strait
centrefold comes to mind!) and not be sidetracked into a
fight on another issue. In the end the Deputy Minister has
had to put relentless pressure on superintendents,
principals and even parents who have all come to realize
that these tests are undermining the quality of public
education. And in so doing have found themselves isolated,
struggling to implement an agenda that is becoming
increasingly discredited. We were unable to adopt and
implement our planned strategy but we found other actions
that have proved to be equally effective.

Our campaign was effective because there was a clear goal
that was overwhelmingly endorsed by members. We were able
to respond to the situation as it changed with effective
analysis and alternative strategies. We were able to
convince public opinion as we continue to enjoy the
respect and credibility we achieved during our own strike
action, and because locals worked independently but in
tandem to achieve our collective goals.

The FSAs are the lynchpin of the
Accountability/Achievement agenda of the ministry. That is
why there was such a vigorous defence mounted and such
strenuous attempts to coerce administrators and parents to
participate. The FSAs, which result not only in the
ranking of schools but clearly, with the move to align
classroom assessment with FSA results, in the erosion of
the professional responsibility of teachers to design
instruction for the individual students they teach and in
the undermining of public education itself.

Through our FSA campaign we are acting at the best
standard of professional practice as advocates for public
education. Our actions have been effective. We have
succeeded in building an awareness of the hollow promise
of test-driven accountability, the negative consequences
of the achievement-at-any-price agenda and of the role of
teachers as defenders of public education.

We are grateful to all of you who have worked so hard and
so effectively. Thank you for your wisdom and your courage
in carrying out this campaign. The list serve has been an
effective tool, helping us share concerns, strategies and
successes. We are grateful for your strength and regret we
were unable to help as much as we would normally do.
Please refer to the report on the meeting that we had with
the Ministry yesterday for updates on issues related to
Bills 20, 21 and 22, the PQT grant request and the adult
educators situation.

Jinny Sims
Irene Lanzinger
Susan Lambert

Category 5+

The BCTF and BCPSEA have agreed to the following with regard to Category 5+ issues.

Category 5+ under local rules
Teachers who began courses of study toward a category 5+ under local rules will have until June 30, 2011 to complete those studies in order to qualify under local rules. However, they will first apply to TQS to see if they qualify for the provincial certificate. Failing that, they would then apply to the district for a local certificate. That way, they will likely qualify for the provincial and not have to worry again should they change districts. 

Teachers who qualify for Category 5+ under local rules will have a certificate issued that defines it as a “district 5+” as opposed to a “provincial 5+.” Districts will be asked to submit all the names and BCCT numbers of teachers who so qualify so that the certificates will be issued without teachers having to make a submission to TQS.

Effective September 1, 2007, the provincial rules shall apply for teachers beginning a course of studies toward a Category 5+.

Retroactive pay
Teachers have until June 30, 2008 to apply for retroactive pay to April 1, 2006 for Category 5+ if they qualified for the provincial one and were not already in receipt of a local one. Retired teachers must also apply for their retroactive pay in this regard. Retroactivity does not apply to local category 5+s, only the new provincial category.

Two-year teacher programs
There is a group of teachers who took four-year degrees and then two-year teacher programs who have to date been denied Category 5+ status simply on the basis of the organization of their studies as opposed to the courses taken which in most cases qualify them for 5+ status. We have requested that TQS make any changes necessary to ensure that equity is maintained. If the courses of study equate to the qualifications for Category 5+ regardless of how they were organized in these circumstances, we believe they should receive the category status.  BCPSEA has taken no position in this regard other than to say that they are satisfied with TQS making the decisions. We will update you about this matter after the TQS board meeting on June 22, 2007.

Purchasing service if layed-off

As this is lay-off/recall time in many school districts, I just thought I would remind Presidents that members who have been laid off can purchase the time they are on a recall list.  You may want to share the following info with any of your members who find themselves in this quandary plus file a copy of it in Section 8 of your Benefits Binders:

Purchasing Layoff Periods
You can purchase periods of layoff as a general leave of absence if you were placed on a recall list and didn’t return to work, or if you returned to work for the same or different employer and worked less than your previous assignment. You must apply to purchase this service before your recall rights expire.

Calculating the Cost
The cost of a leave of absence is based on your current full-time equivalent salary, multiplied by the length of the leave period, multiplied by:
• the current employee contribution rate (9.16% as of July 1, 2007) – this applies to maternity, parental and adoption, and compassionate care leaves, or
• the current employee and employer contribution rates (21.45% as of July 1, 2007) – this applies to general leaves

The School District Budget for 2007/2008

Les Pritchard attended the first Advisory Budget Meeting on behalf of the Union.  The essential message is that the District believes they need to lay off 3 FTE Teachers and 4 FTE Childcare workers but they need a third senior Board office staff member.

Right now there is one administrator for every 8.2 teachers in our District.  This would make that ratio worse yet.

The justification is that they expect 50 fewer students, but the Board staff are too busy. 

School Closure Third Reading delayed

At the Board meeting last night the School Board passed a motion to delay the third reading of the by-laws which may have closed two schools this Summer to March 11, 2008.  This would allow them to look at the whole District and form a committee to look at the “vision” for the District.

This means staffing will be going forward as of Thursday afternoon, so please watch for postings.  If you need information, please call the office at 627-1700.

BCTF/CEP Settlement

Term of agreement
3 years (January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2009)

Salary Schedule
Recast at December 31, 2006 to reflect roll over of telephone and Internet allowances (taxable benefits) into salary
January 1, 2007 – 2.0% Increase
January 1, 2008 – 2.0% Increase
January 1, 2009 – 2.0% Increase

Signing bonus of $3500.

Retirement Gratuity and Retirement Benefits
Employees on staff prior to January 31, 2007 and current retirees as of January 31, 2007 are red-circled for existing retirement gratuity and retirement benefits.

Employees hired after January 31, 2007 upon retirement from the Federation shall receive a retirement gratuity equal to 1.5% of annual salary for each year of service with the Federation.

Employees hired after January 31, 2007 may access the retirement health benefits available under Article 22 by paying 100% of the premiums.

Employees hired after January 31, 2007 will be eligible for the Great West Life Group Insurance Plan on a shared basis: 50 % employer paid, 50% employee paid.

New Article: Early Retirement Incentive Plan: Continuing and term employees on staff prior to January 31, 2007, with 4 or more years service with the Federation, who retire from the Federation with less than 10 years of service shall receive an ERIP payment equal to 3.0% per year of service with the Federation, and may access the benefits available under Article 22 by paying 100% of the premiums.

Right to Union Representation
New clause added; “If an employee requests union representation at a meeting with the Federation such a request will not be denied.” Existing discipline related meetings language amended to include “Such, notice will be provided to the Union and the employee in writing with the particulars prior to any meeting being held.”

Leave for Union Business
Added union leave days for attendance at CEP Provincial Council (equivalent to BCTF RA).

“For predictable events, the union shall provide the employer with five (5) days notice.”

Improvements for Term Appointments
Subject to prior approval one (1) return trip and the cost of overnight lodging to be paid for the purposes of interviews, returning to a position, visiting schools or other work sites associated with return to district.

Payment of the costs of cancellation, transfer, or installation fees for services and utilities involved in the relocation.

When a term employee retires from the teaching profession when their term ends, payment of moving and transportation costs to that term retiree’s original location, or to another location with the cost not to exceed a move back to the original location.

New clause: “All appointees shall receive written information pertaining to employment benefits, moving expenses, and other applicable information attached to their appointment letter”.

Holidays and Vacations
To be scheduled by mutual agreement.

New Clause added; “Where the Federation withdraws agreement to an employee’s vacation, the Federation shall compensate the employee for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee that are related to the cancellation.”

The rest of the changes to the collective agreement are very minor.