01/16/2014 15:14 EST | Updated 03/18/2014 05:59 EDT

Victoria schools brace for possible strike

Public schools in Victoria could be behind picket lines as early as Monday and parents have been warned to prepare for a possible strike. 

CUPE Local 947, the union representing clerical staff, information technologists and teaching assistants in the Greater Victoria School District, has issued 72-hour strike notice.

The Victoria local is the only one in B.C. to turn down the the province's contract offer to clerical, information technology and education assistants, saying it is unhappy with changes to its prescription drug benefits.

President Brad Hall says the union has given the employer until Friday to respond. After making an offer to the government's bargaining representative yesterday, he isoptimistic a strike can be averted.

"I am quite confident. I think the offer they left with is entirely palatable not only for government and the employer, but also for our members."

School Superintendent John Gaiptman says he`s optimistic too, but the district is asking parents to make alternative care arrangements just in case.

 “While we will have principals and vice principals at the schools, we can expect that teachers and support staff will honour the picket lines and therefore we will have safety issues if it's just two people supervising hundreds of students."

Both sides will meet again Friday.