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

Westbank First Nation reports an increase in building activity

2017 was the fourth busiest year for building on WFN reserves since 2005

One fatality in Highway 97 collision in Vernon

Two vehicles involved in crash that has halted traffic

Kelowna woman only Canadian to train in Danish sailing program

A Kelowna sailor compares her life at sea to manning an old… Continue reading

Okanagan Sun juggle coaching staff

Kelowna football club makes a move within its coaching ranks

Kelowna West Libertarian goes after ICBC

Kyle Geronazzo feels B.C. drivers are being “ripped off” by the provincial auto insurer

What’s happening

Find out about events happening in your community this weekend

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Thunderbirds ground Rockets

A week after a 6-2 win in Kent, WA, the Rockets fall to Seattle Friday in WHL action

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Most Read