Niagara Catholic School talks
Negotiations between the Niagara Catholic District School Board and the union representing its elementary teachers continued Monday after a lockout noticed was issued on Friday. If a deal isn’t hammered out within two weeks, 800 elementary teachers will be barred from school.It’s the 22nd time the two sides met since their contract expired in 2014. The scheduled meeting comes after the board notified its teachers that they will be locked out March 20th.Paul MacNeil from the Niagara Catholic School board says that the good news is that they are talking and negotiating and is optimistic.“Currently teachers are teaching the curriculum. they are teaching reading, writing, math, so obviously that will change for the students. that is obviously a big loss for the students.” says, Union President, Marie BalanowskiCurrently, salary for teachers at the board start anywhere from 40 to 70 thousand dollars and tops out at 94 thousand with benefits.But according to both sides, the negotiations have nothing to do with money, but they would not say why talks have taken over year.If a lockout is called, schools will still be open and with administrative staff taking over. But the board is giving parents the option of not sending their kids to school.Teachers have been ‘Working to Rule’ since September, eliminating extra-curricular activities for nearly 15 thousand students.So far the cost of negotiations have cost around 200 thousand dollars so far with 3 mediators but are all hopeful that a deal will be struck.