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Teacher talks not on board agenda

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The Rainy River District School Board is not scheduled to discuss current contract talks with its high school teachers at its regular monthly meeting here Tuesday night.

High school teachers in Fort Frances, Rainy River, and Atikokan are holding a strike vote Wednesday after two days of contract talks with a conciliator last week failed to reach an agreement.

The local Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation also has requested a “no board” report, which, once official, would mean teachers can take job action after 17 days.

More contract talks are slated Feb. 20-21.

Teachers are looking for a wage and benefit increase totalling more than three percent a year.

Last month, the board received a commitment from the province for $600,000 to help in the collective bargaining process. That cash, according to the board, represents a maximum of 2.7 percent.

The money was part of recommendations made by the Rozanski report released in December.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, trustees will approve the J.W. Walker renovation/expansion project at an estimated cost of $4.6 million.

According to the timetable, the project went to tender today, with tenders being accepted until Feb. 28. Construction is scheduled to start at the beginning of April.

Also tonight, trustees will talk about a meeting planned Feb. 18 between the board and the Town of Fort Frances over the sale or demolition options related to old Fort Frances High School on First Street East.

The board also will take the opportunity at tonight’s meeting to recognize the district’s 13 communications assistants.

The Speech and Language Program in the district’s schools is more than 20 years old—and is essential to programs like Early Intervention, Community Services, and all literacy initiatives.

A resolution requesting approval to draw $313,000 from classroom reserves for expenditures of classroom materials also will be presented at tonight’s meeting.

Last month, it was reported the board had finished the 2001-02 school year with a surplus, allocating $324,000 to the classroom reserve and $450,000 for the reserve for working funds.

The board also reported that Special Education overspent by $316,000 in 2001-02.

The meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. in the boardroom at Robert Moore School.

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