Teachers, province remain 'far apart' as talks continue
REGINA -- The province and the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation returned to talks on Thursday to try to come back to the bargaining table.
Education Minister Gordon Wyant said he is willing to offer more to teachers, but the STF says bargaining won't resume until the two sides find some common ground.
"I've informed the STF that we have a new bargaining mandate that we'd like to table with the bargaining committee," Wyant said. "I've mentioned that to them and asked them to come back to the bargaining table."
Wyant didn't go into detail about money or the issue of classroom size and composition. The STF wants to see more from the province.
"I'll just tell you right off the top that I knew that we were way too far apart, that government has a responsibility to fund education," STF President Patrick Maze said.
Teachers want classroom size and composition written into the collective agreement, but the school boards won't agree to it.
"The issues of class size and composition are best dealt with at a local level and are best dealt with in the hands of locally elected trustees," Shawn Davidson with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association said.
All parties say they will review the results of Thursday's talks before deciding what to do next.
Everyone agrees that time is of the essence. Teachers and trustees want classroom supports in place in time for the next school year, and the government wants to avoid a labour dispute during a provincial election campaign.