Childcare alternatives springing up for strike-afflicted parents

As rotating B.C. school strikes begin Monday, parents can take some comfort in the fact that childcare options are springing up to accommodate out-of-class kids.

The one-day strikes will last four days, affecting all 60 B.C. school districts, affecting 41,000 members of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation and 559,000 students.

On Monday, 16 school districts will face strike closures, including:

* Vancouver, New Westminster, Mission, Sooke, Southeast Kootenay, Rocky Mountain, Quesnel, Sea to Sky, Central Coast, Peace River South, Okanagan Skaha, Campbell River, Gold Trail, Fraser-Cascade, Vancouver Island North and Stikine.

Government negotiators countered the rotating strike declaration with a move to partially lock teachers out of schools, also starting Monday. The lockout includes wage cuts starting at five per cent and rising to 10 per cent, restriction on times they can enter schools and three forced days off June 25, 26 and 27 for high school teachers and one day out for elementary teachers on June 27.

The two sides are still far apart at the bargaining table and talks were cancelled Friday.

The B.C. Public School Employers Association is offering a 7.25 per cent wage increase over six-years with a $1,200 signing bonus.

The BCTF is looking for a 13.75 per cent increase over four years wage increase as well as contract improvements to class size, composition and specialist teachers. The province insists the real cost of those requests will push the increase to 21 per cent.

eoconnor@theprovince.com

twitter.com/elaine_oconnor

STRIKE BLUES CHILDCARE SOLUTIONS

Community groups, neighbourhood centres and various recreation attractions across B.C. have scrambled to offer parents childcare solutions as a rotating school strike hits. Here’s a sampler of specific programs offered and tips on where to look for help this week. In the Lower Mainland, the YWCA will be holding camps at several locations on various weekdays, including Surrey, south Vancouver, Gibsons, and Chilliwack. Spots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so visit its website for sign-up details.

A number of Vancouver community centres, including Kerrisdale, Coal Harbour, Dunbar, and West Point Grey will also offer camps. Check with local branches for details.

Grouse Mountain is offering adventure day camps from May 26 to 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., for $57 per day. The Richmond Oval has multi-sport skill day camps slated for Monday and Tuesday, for $64 per day.

In New Westminster, civic facilities like Moody Park Arena and private companies like Music Box music and theatre academy are offering strike camps.

And in Mission, the Mission Leisure Centre is offering a full-day camp for kids with sports, crafts, gym activities and waterpark outings.

Across the province, babysitters and licensed daycares with extra space are posting ads on sites like Craigslist and Kijiji offering one-day services in various districts.

Also private children’s recreation companies including MyGym, Jump Gymnastics and Splitz Gymnastics, among others, are also offering one-day camps in select districts.

For a full list of which school districts are closed on which days visit TheProvince.com.

eoconnor@theprovince.com

twitter.com/elaine_oconnor

Source Article from http://www.theprovince.com/Childcare+alternatives+springing+strike+afflicted+parents/9871508/story.html
Childcare alternatives springing up for strike-afflicted parents
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