ETFO Trillium Lakelands Teachers Express Anger, Concern About School Board's Fiscal Priorities

LINDSAY, ON, Feb. 14, 2013 /CNW/ - As an Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) hearing co-initiated by Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB) finished its eighth day, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Trillium Lakelands local President Steve Colliver expressed concern about the school board's involvement in an unnecessary legal action.

"Many Trillium Lakelands teachers spend a significant amount of their own money each year to supplement small school budgets and ensure classrooms are fully equipped for students," said President Colliver. "To have their employer divert hundreds of thousands of dollars of money meant for classrooms to pay the fees of four high-priced Toronto lawyers is offensive to my members."

"I hope that Trillium Lakelands parents and taxpayers are asking some hard questions about the priorities of TLDSB. How, for example, can this board find money to pay the hotel costs for staff to attend protracted legal hearings in Toronto when the educational supports that at-risk students need to succeed aren't being provided?"

Colliver also noted that teacher well-being is being ignored by TLDSB. "We have a long-standing teacher morale problem in this school board that has its origins in the hyper-combative management style adopted by senior management. The board's involvement in this OLRB application is yet another example of this approach and has caused a further deterioration of morale."

"There are 31 public school boards in Ontario," observed Colliver. "Twenty-nine of them are trying to build bridges with teachers during this challenging time. The TLDSB has chosen a different approach, and many teachers have contacted me to express anger, disappointment and frustration with their employer."

"The board's motto is 'Better together in a safe and caring learning community'. Teachers are wondering how filing this OLRB complaint is supposed to make them feel safe or cared for by their employer" said Colliver. "They are questioning the board's motives and are, quite frankly, seeing this move as a veiled threat."

"But if this board thinks that taking ETFO to the OLRB will intimidate Trillium Lakelands teachers from making choices about what they do during their personal time," continued President Colliver, "it has made a serious miscalculation."

ETFO Trillium Lakelands Teacher Local represents over 740 elementary teachers employed by Trillium Lakelands District School Board.

SOURCE: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information:

Steve Colliver, 705-324-4751 - steve.colliver@tldsb.on.ca