Legal News

School District Not Required to Make Up Lost Preparation Time

Arbitrator Stan Lanyon recently dismissed a grievance which claimed that the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District was required to make up preparation time lost by elementary school teachers due to non-instructional days, statutory holidays or board-directed activities (such as field trips, sports days, etc.).

The union relied on a 2005 decision of arbitrator Emily Burke, who held that preparation time under the Mission School District collective agreement was a mandatory right, and if missed, had to be made up. The school district argued that the application of Arbitrator Burke’s decision was limited to the specific facts in that case.

Arbitrator Lanyon distinguished the Mission School District decision and determined that the reduction of preparation time when instructional time was reduced was directly contemplated, not only by the past practice of the parties, but by the terms of the collective agreement between the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District and the Union. He concluded that the collective agreement directly linked preparation time with instructional time and that the primary purpose of preparation time was to increase the quality of instruction. The school district therefore was not required to make up the lost preparation time.

BCPSEA/Board of School Trustees of School District No. 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) and BCTF/Nanaimo District Teachers Association, January 29, 2007 (Lanyon).