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Occasional teachers reject offer

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Talks between local secondary school occasional teachers and the public school board broke off when they rejected the board’s latest contract offer of wage parity with their elementary counterparts.

Union members provide qualified teachers to replace absent teachers on both a daily and long-term occasional basis in Fort Frances High School, Atikokan High School, and the Rainy River High School.

The union has been in a legal strike position since Dec. 31.

This last contract offer had the same salary increase accepted by local elementary occasional teachers during a ratification vote Feb. 6 and approved by the board at its regular meeting Tuesday night.

Future sanctions by the union to withdraw occasional teacher services from all three district high schools are not yet known, the board noted in a press release.

The board added its priority remains continuity of student programs despite the anticipated withdrawal of occasional teacher replacement services on a daily and long-term basis.

“We employ occasional teachers to continue to provide excellent programs while contract teachers are absent for professional development,” Jack McMaster, director of education for the Rainy River District School Board, said in the release.

“Thus the focus on student achievement is supported by the occasional teachers and it is our hope that we can continue without disruption,” he added.

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