Education Minister Mike Bernier

Education Minister Mike Bernier

Province funds 2,600 more teachers

$330 million is ‘bridge’ to contract talks in 2019

The B.C. government has increased its commitment to $330 million to settle the dispute with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, funding 2,600 new teacher positions, Education Minister Mike Bernier says.

The agreement provides “additional flexibility” on specialty teacher ratios in schools, but achieves provincial language on how to resolve disputes over class size and composition, Bernier told reporters Friday.

The extra funding is to comply with a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in November that requires a return to contract language removed from the BCTF contract in 2002.

“We did agree to make the old language work to the extent that we could for now, working with the BCTF, but even the BCTF and all the people involved understood that we need to look to longer-term solutions,” Bernier said. “And this is basically a bridge that we are outlining today … to help us get to 2019 where we will be at negotiations again with the teachers’ federation and at the bargaining table, to be able to look at things a little more holistically.”

The province had previously announced $180 million so B.C.’s 60 school districts could start hiring teachers this year.

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