Ministry of Education does an about face on pay cut to Kootenay area school psychologist
An open letter to Premier Christy Clark from a registered psychologist from Nelson that received thousands of reads in media circles has prompted the Ministry of Education do an about face a story Saturday on the website of the Vancouver Province newspaper said.
The original letter from Dr. Todd Kettner was in response to the Kootenay area school psychologist working 70 hours unpaid overtime in the wake of a Slocan Lake canoeing tragedy and seeing his pay docked by $596.82 after opening his pay slip.
“After working more than 70 hours of unpaid overtime in the past 16 days, I opened my paycheck to see that – even prior to (Wednesday’s) first scheduled strike day in our district – you had deducted $596.82 from my family’s income for what you describe on my paystub as “job action”,’ Dr. Kettner said in the letter.
In a statement, the Ministry of Education said Dr. Kettner’s overtime would be recognized and the area school psychologist would be exempt from job action pay docking.
“Kootenay Lake School District (SD 8) informed Todd Kettner Thursday that BCPSEA is granting an exemption to reduction of pay due to trauma and safety issues,” the statement said.
“With respect to the 10 per cent (pay docking), because payroll had to get out and the hours of the strike must be done on the May payroll, all teachers had their pay reduced by the 10 per cent. Then afterwards, any exemptions/anomalies will be taken care of and corrected.”
Dr. Kettner told The Province he would donate the money to the Osprey Foundation Mental Wellness Fund unless the province reimbursed his fellow “teachers, psychologists, counselors, and allied health professionals in school districts” who routinely work extra hours supporting students in their districts.
The two sides in the dispute — B.C. Teacher’s Federation and B.C. Public School Employers’ Association — remain far apart, with major sticking points continuing to be pay, class size and classroom support.
After shutting down schools last week in the province, the BCTF is preparing to enter its second week of job action.
Select schools in the BCTF rotating strike schedule will be closed throughout the province beginning Monday through Friday. The only day no job action will happen is Wednesday.
In the West Kootenay/Boundary region, School District 20 Kootenay Columbia is closed Monday while SD 10 Arrow Lakes is shutdown Tuesday.
Kootenay Lake School District 8 and Boundary 51 are behind picket lines Thursday.
Kettner told The Province he hopes by going public there is a positive outcome at the negotiating table between the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association and the B.C. Teacher’s Federation.
“I am just glad my letter resonated with people,” Kettner said.
“And I’m hopeful that the union and the government get it done for the sake of the kids.”