Record Numbers Elect New YTA President

Educators attending the 50th Annual General Meeting Saturday April 30th recorded the highest attendance in YTA collective memory. 73% of the 700 YTA members participated in person or by proxy. The AGM selected a new president and decided on many issues including a combination of budgets totaling more than threequarters of a million dollars in cash flow.

President Oostindie said that he would like to take some credit for the record attendance as he promotes the importance of the AGM. He added that “three members who ran for the position of president really worked at bringing members to the meeting as well.”

The AGM elected educator Sandra Henderson who has taught for 25 years in Yukon and 50 years in total. President-elect Henderson promised to be firm with the direction of YTA in the next year. Henderson will commence duties mid-July after meeting with other delegates of the 200,000 members of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF). She will attend these meetings with current president, Oostindie.

Speaking to the assembly, Larry Booi of the CTF shared some of the successful achievements across the country including how Ontario teachers re-established 200 minutes of lesson preparation time each week. Since many educators are recruited from other parts of Canada, it important that Yukon reflect the best learning conditions from across Canada.

The Minister of Education addressed the assembly and was congratulated for his advocacy on behalf of the needs of children and schools. The Minister was asked by President Oostindie to look into the growing number of educators who work on temporary assignments. “This year more than 20% of Yukon teachers and paraprofessionals in schools are on term assignments and face ‘silent lay-offs’ this June. One school has no permanently hired educational assistants yet the community recognizes such a great need that they have hired an extra aid for their children,” says Oostindie. The Minister committed to looking into the temporary assignments
made by the Department.

The AGM approved a reduction of fees as the Association is in excellent fiscal condition. Treasurer Paul Nordahl presented the surplus budget to the AGM. “The YTA is a major contributor to the Yukon economy with over three-quarters of a million dollars spent on Yukon salaries and services. We own our own property, rent to local businesses and carry many other assets’” added Oostindie.

The Association looks forward to next year’s negotiations between YTG and the Association. The previous contract was settled expeditiously and the Association hopes that the future agreements can be made in that manner again. Better salaries will keep highly qualified staff in our classrooms and a good professional contract should also be used as a tool to improve children’s learning conditions. Employment Relations Chair, Cully Robinson was acclaimed to continue his work to support these efforts.

Other members of the new Executive taking charge next school year include; vice-president, Carrie-Lyn Robinson; treasurer, Linda Augustine; membership chair, Peter Menzies; member-at-large, Peter Giangrande; constitution and policy, Sharon Nehring-Willson; professional development, David Webber. All of the Executive members have worked in rural Yukon and three currently work in Tantalus school. This will bring a rich flavour to the Executive that should meet the needs of the YTA.