Students head into a portable classroom in Chilliwack. Some urban centres are seeing rising enrolment. (Jenna Hauck/Black Press)

B.C. schools brace for more students, teachers

Hiring 3,500 more teachers going well, Education Minister Rob Fleming says

Most urban and rural schools are keeping pace in their efforts to recruit and retain more teachers to meet a court-mandated target for reduced class sizes, Education Minister Rob Fleming says.

With 3,500 new teaching positions to be filled going into the school year that begins Tuesday, there was concern that teachers would migrate to urban centres that have the bulk of the new job openings. But Fleming said Friday that based on his conversations with school district officials so far, they are managing.

B.C. is attracting teachers from out of province to take part in one of the largest increases in teaching resources ever, Fleming said.

“I think the story is getting out there that B.C., after 16 years of confrontation, and that’s all you heard about our school system was government fighting teachers, B.C. has an ambitious agenda for public education now, and this is an exciting place to come and work,” he said.

The B.C. Liberal government signed a deal in March providing $330 million to fund 2,600 new teacher positions, to comply with a November 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that ended a 15-year court battle over contract language governing class size and special needs support ratios.

The settlement was added to when the NDP government took office in July, and the cost is now estimated at $376 million. The agreement is to carry the province’s public school system to 2019, when the current teacher contract must be renegotiated.

Fleming acknowledged that some rural districts are still working to recruit teachers, and specialty teaching positions are part of the challenge.

When the agreement with the union was reached, the ministry established a $2 million fund for rural and remote school districts to help recruit and retain teachers. The agreement also includes alternatives when a district can’t meet the restored teacher contract provisions that were removed by legislation in 2002.

Teachers can agree to take additional preparation time, extra teaching support or other forms of assistance, if approved by them and their union local.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP files ‘historic appeal’ to save proposed legislation

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson filed a “historic appeal” on Thursday to have… Continue reading

Chemainus Secondary’s Janet Ruest receives excellence award from Governor General

Chemainus Secondary School teacher Janet Ruest was recognized in Ottawa on Wednesday.

VIU nursing students conduct survey on Ladysmith early years programming

Fourth year nursing students at Vancouver Island University have teamed up with… Continue reading

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP seeks secret ballot to save abandoned vessels bill

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson is seeking a secret ballot to save her private member’s bill.

Founder Smith’s vision will live on through the Chemainus Theatre Festival

Death of Ken Smith brings much reflection from a grateful community

UPDATE: More searchers out looking for missing senior near Nanaimo

Search and rescue personnel from all over the Island are looking for 73-year-old Faye Hanson

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

15 arrested as Duncan police raid yields drugs, stolen property

Arrests made, drugs and stolen property seized

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

Mounties dismantle counterfeiters ring with raid in Maple Bay Thursday

Counterfeiting paraphernalia found along with firearms, stolen property as police swept in Nov. 23

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

RCMP searching for missing Cowichan Bay boater, Daniel Borthwick

His Zodiac has been found but he has not, so far.

Most Read