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Summer school in Burnaby nixed

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Burnaby school district's summer school programs will not go ahead after the two two sides in the B.C. teachers' strike remained far apart in negotiations on Wednesday.

"Regrettably, as a result, this year the Burnaby School District’s Summer Session cannot proceed as planned," said Burnaby district superintendent Kevin Kaardal in a letter to parents Wednesday.

"The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the Burnaby Teachers’ Association (BTA) have informed the District that they will be continuing strike action and pickets at summer session sites, unless a collective agreement is reached."

The Labour Relations Board has deemed summer school an essential service only for a small number of students—those in grades 10 to 12 who have failed a course and don't have an opportunity to make up the course.

Those restrictions mean only 58 of 3,244 students registered for secondary-level summer courses qualify, Kaardal wrote. Those students will be contacted and offered options to complete the courses somewhere in the Metro Vancouver region.

Burnaby students who have failed a course will also have the opportunity to retake the course next year through the district's "School to Work" program or online (http://online.sd41.bc.ca).

Those taking remedial courses are a very small portion of those enrolled in the summer session, he said. "The vast majority of Burnaby students take summer school courses for advancement or enrichment."

A process will begin to automatically issue refunds to those whose classes will not go ahead, although parents should expect the "manually intensive" process to take some time.

wchow@burnabynewsleader.com

twitter.com/WandaChow

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