Teachers’ court decision delays Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district budget

Teachers’ court decision delays Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district budget

Unclear to Nanaimo school district how many additional teachers required under ruling

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling favouring the B.C. teachers’ union will delay full passage of Nanaimo school district’s 2017-18 budget.

Last November’s ruling in the union’s long-standing battle with the B.C. government will lead to class size composition numbers adjustments and as a result, the district’s budget will have two parts. The school board passed part one on April 25, but will await discussions with the province and teachers’ union before approving the full budget.

The district does have information on some teaching numbers, as it is projecting enrolment will increase to 13,843 students in September from 13,693 in 2016-17. As a result, there will be an addition of seven full-time equivalent teachers, a secondary assessment and curriculum teacher, and three more principals and vice-principals. Part-time teachers will also be added, including a sexual health coordinator and a teacher for vision and hard of hearing.

The district currently has $57.3 million allocated for teachers salaries, $6.4 million for administrative officers, $8.2 million for educational assistants and about $10.6 million for support staff. The total allocated for district salaries for 2017-18 is $113.2 million, including all district staff and benefits.

Dale Burgos, school district spokesman, said conversations related to the effect of the ruling are ongoing, but it is not known when the amount of extra teaching staff will be known. The board will have to give approval, however.

“What will happen is district staff will present to the board with the updated numbers,” said Burgos. “My understanding is that they have a dollar amount that would’ve been announced by the province and of course the district is working on filling in all staff requirements due to the [court] ruling.”

Total operating revenue for the district is $126.9 million while total operating expenses is $125.8 million.