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

B.C. government sets goals as kids head back to school in September

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has blamed a shortage of teachers and specialists for causing disruptions in the last school year.

British Columbia’s education minister said the province’s schools have had a $580 million funding boost that has enabled the government to hire up to 3,700 new teachers and a number of educational assistants.

Rob Fleming said Thursday 600,000 students will return to class in September with record levels of funding, smaller class sizes, more teachers and support staff.

A Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2016 forced the provincial government to restore staffing to 2002 levels after it ruled a former Liberal government improperly took away the union’s right to bargain class size and the composition of those classes.

The B.C. Teachers’ Federation has blamed a shortage of teachers and specialists for causing disruptions in the last school year.

Related: Teachers’ union files grievance over public school educator shortage in B.C.

Related: B.C. schools brace for more students, teachers

Federation president Glen Hansman said the increase in teachers or funding isn’t something Fleming or the new NDP government has done.

“It’s something that the court ordered because of teachers’ persistence through the court,” he said. “Beyond what the court ordered there hasn’t been any new additional funding on the operational side from the province.”

Fleming said the province is having difficulty recruiting French immersion teachers and school districts in the Lower Mainland have had to curtail the planned expansion of French programs. Some districts in rural areas have also had trouble hiring secondary school math and science teachers, he said, because moving to those areas is a “bigger life decision.”

Hansman said it is also difficult to find teachers for Vancouver because of how expensive it is to live in the city.

In a letter to Fleming earlier this year the federation recommended that the minister establish a provincewide recruitment and retention fund, and assist in student loan payments, among other things.

Fleming said the problem has been left for so long that it is taking a lot of care and attention to fix.

Hansman said the federation wants the province to be “more proactive,” and he gave the former B.C. Liberal government credit for putting $2 million into a fund to help rural and remote school districts offer moving allowances to help attract teachers from other provinces.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Trial date moved for convicted animal abuser Catherine Adams

Adams will now be facing her breach of probation charges in court on May 16

Quesnel Kangaroos split pair of games at home

Lose 7-4 to Terrace but prevail 5-2 versus Kitimat

Quesnel ice dancer focusing on improving herself at National Championships

Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker will be competing in New Brunswick this week

One year on: Quesnel inventor starts local factory

The Observer catches up with George Jennex, inventor of the Shur-Lok Safety Hitch

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external watchdog

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Right-wing, neo-Nazi, white supremacist groups an increasing concern: Goodale

Ten people died in April 2018 when Alek Minassian allegedly drove a rental van down the busy stretch in Toronto

Canadian stock exchanges to conduct lottery for ‘POT’ ticker amid high demand

The symbol became available after fertilizer Potash Corp. officially merged with Agrium Inc. in early 2018

Most Read