With $359,000 coming into School District 20 (SD20) for new teachers between now and June, administrators and union leaders are fast tracking so new educators and resources can be in place within weeks.
“Most of the work currently continues to be at a provincial level, between the BCTF (BC Teachers’ Federation) the ministry and government,” SD20 Superintendent Bill Ford told the Trail Times. “At the local level, we are working with the local teachers’ union (Kootenay Columbia Teachers Union) to identify priorities, and we are hoping that we will have the new extra teacher resources in our schools working, providing service, in early February.”
The added funding is part of a recent $50 million agreement between the BCTF, BC Public School Employers Association and the province, as a first step toward restored maximums in classrooms as well as more teaching resources.
SD20’s share from the multi-million provincial agreement is an interim measure, Ford clarified.
“Just know it will be $359,000 worth of new teacher FTE (Full Time Equivalency) in the school district and that gets us to June,” he said. “Then we are waiting for the provincial parties to do their work as we start planning for next year, and what that’s going to look like. We do not have details on that yet, we continue to sit and wait.”
Ford’s comments follow the first SD20 trustee meeting of the new year.
Besides the good news of new teachers on the way, the Monday night agenda included an ongoing trustee disagreement – that being the number of elected board members. For at least the next two years, the number of trustees will remain status quo after the board voted down the proposal to reduce the panel.
“The motion for reducing trustees was defeated,” confirmed board chair Teri Ferworn. “If this issue comes up again it would need to wait until after the next trustee election due to the time required to execute such a change.”
Another matter of interest is an upcoming event that focuses on rural classrooms, Ferworn continued.
“Families and other community members are being encouraged to attend a regional open house on Friday, Feb. 24 to share their ideas on how to transform rural education in B.C.,” she said.
Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Education, Linda Larson, and Ministry of Education staff are hosting the event at Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre from 6 – 8 p.m.
“We hope everyone will attend to express their thoughts on rural education, sharing stories around the importance of rural schools and rural education programs in a casual setting,” Ferworn added. “Engagement in a more formal facilitated discussion will also be part of the meeting.”
Anyone unable to attend this open house is encouraged to provide feedback in an online survey and discussion format at: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/ruraleducation.