The Abbotsford School District is on track with teacher hiring, a spokesperson says, as other B.C. school districts struggle to meet requirements set out following a Supreme Court decision on class sizes.
Over the summer, district spokesperson Kayla Stuckart says the human resource department had posted and filled 323 teaching positions, and as of Sept. 10, had 54 positions outstanding. Of those 54 positions, 23 were full-time equivalent, Stuckart said.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation in November 2016 to reinstate the teachers’ union’s right to bargain with the provincial government on class size and composition. After that ruling, the Ministry of Education and school districts across the province scrambled to hire more teachers to fill a March 2017 deal between the government and the union that provided $330 million to fund 2,600 new teacher jobs.
Last year, the Abbotsford School District was still down 90 positions by late August, as the new school year loomed. At the time, Stuckart told The News the district had “been incredibly busy” hiring over the summer.
This year, however, Stuckart says the district’s position is “typical for our district at this time of the year.”
“It is important to note that the district has over 1500 full and part-time teaching positions,” Stuckart said in a Sept. 12 email.
“We will continue to focus on filling these roles throughout the fall, but in the interim, we are filling the postings with our temporary teachers-on-call (TTOC) pool.”
Stuckart says the district has been successful at attracting teachers to “a high-performing, financially stable and innovative school district.”
“Through our ongoing recruitment efforts, we believe that teachers continue to be drawn to the collaborative and supportive work environment that we provide,” Stuckart said. “We have extensive professional development supports for new teachers, ranging from mentorship programs to leadership programs, and numerous career-pathing opportunities.”
The BCTF is currently into bargaining mode for the next collective agreement with the Province of B.C., with negotiations expected to begin in late 2018 or early 2019, according to the union’s website. It isn’t clear at this point what emphasis will be placed on class size and composition will take in those negotiations.