Teachers pack it in
All of Nanisivik's teachers resign

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 21/97) - Students in Nanisivik may be left without any teachers this September.

Not one of the community's four teachers is expected to return in the fall, and all are leaving largely because of changes to the NWT Teachers Association contract, said Julia Breen, principal of Allurut school.

The GNWT has forced teachers across the North to take cuts in areas that include housing allowance and travel assistance.

The NWTTA recently filed a court challenge against amendments to the Public Services Act after the government legislated teachers to accept their final offer. The union has taken the action on the grounds it eliminates the democratic right to collective bargaining.

Breen cited the increasing cost of government housing as one of biggest reasons she is leaving.

"I think the contract has had something to do with it," she said. "I'm the only one living in government housing and it has become really expensive. Three of the other teachers live in mining housing and their rent is one-quarter of what I pay."

Breen predicts that the new contract will make it difficult to get new teachers in Nanisivik.

"Whoever comes here will have to be very versatile -- they will have to teach four or five grades," she said. "It will definitely be difficult to recruit teachers from the South because of the cost changes in the past year."

In addition to reductions in teachers' benefits, Breen said that the number of teachers were expected to be reduced from four to two.

Teachers had until Sunday to make their resignations official.