By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Feb. 18, 2012
Officially, Rick Hume is a director of facilities at School Board 48.
But drive to Don Ross Secondary School at 3 p.m., and you will see him cast in a completely different role.
Here he keeps a watchful eye on students as they boad the school bus for home.
Drive to Squamish Elementary School at noon and you will see him supervising lunch breaks.
It’s been six months since the teachers went on a strike, putting the administrative burden on people like Hume.
But he isn’t the only one moonlighting at SD 48.
As many as 14 officials, from school superintendent to director of human resources, do supervisory work abandoned by the teachers.
Hume isn’t bitter about it, although it affects his real work.
There are meetings now that last well into the night as the pressure of deadline grows.
“It makes for some long days, but someone has to do this” he said.
The effects of job action over a prolonged time show up financially too, said school superintendent Lisa McCullough.
The staff continues to drive between Squamish and Whistler, adding to the travel expenses and loss of work time.
“Not having to complete their assignments to the fullest extent is challenging and puts additional strain on our system,” she said.
Since September, 41,000 teachers have abandoned administrative duties like filling out report cards, or doing other administrative duties like supervising playgrounds.
On Feb.2, Abbotsford school district calculated that the cost of teachers’ job action had cost their school district $180,000 in staff time and another $34,000 in extra travel.
The $180,000 is not the actual money spent, but dollar estimates of the time spent by managers at the school district.
Beth Miller, the president of Sea to Sky Teachers Association, called the Abbotsford action “inflammatory”.
“I am glad that our school board has decided to resist the political impulse that led the Abbotsford board to such a statement,” she said.
(For her full response, check this week’s Your View section at the left)
The province has appointed Trevor Hughes as the fact-finder into the negotiations.
In a press release, the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF) said it would work with the fact-finder, but expressed doubt about the government’s motives.
“Teachers firmly believe that if there is good will on both sides, the answer to that question is yes,” BCTF president Susan Lambert said.
“However, we are concerned about the lack of independence in the process.”
Education Minister George Abbott has also hinted a legislated end to the strike if the fact-finding didn’t find an end to the stalemate.