03/19/2013 10:11 EDT | Updated 05/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Alberta Teachers Troubled By Wage Deal


EDMONTON - Alberta's school boards say they have serious concerns about a tentative deal between the province and the teachers.

The Alberta School Boards Association held an emergency meeting Monday in Edmonton, where 60 of the province's 62 school boards met behind closed doors on the matter.

Association president Jacquie Hansen says the proposed four-year-deal, which gives teachers a two-per-cent wage hike in the last year, will affect students.

Teachers still have yet to ratify the deal.

Education Minister Jeff Johnson, who attended the meeting in the afternoon, told reporters the proposed contract brings stability to the classroom.

However, the minister admitted it will be a challenge for school boards.

"There are a lot of pressures under the budget for school boards, and they may have fewer teachers in the classroom next year than they did this year,'' Johnson said. "Every community, every school, is going to be a little different.''

School boards say they feel that the deal is being imposed on them and warn programs or services may be cut.

"There's only so much money in our coffers, and we really have to be able to weigh the fiscal realities that we have,'' Hansen said.

"We are always trying to keep the cuts away from our kids as far as possible. We don't think this agreement will allow us not to impact our kids, we think this will impact them no matter what.''

It's hoped all of Alberta's school boards will provide the province with an answer later this week.

(CTV Edmonton)

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