Government, Teachers Strike $50 Million Deal
Victoria, B.C. – More supports are coming to B.C.’s classrooms.
This after the provincial government and the BC Public School Employer’s Association announced they’ve reached an agreement with the BCTF to provide school districts with $50 million to immediately begin hiring teachers and improve student supports.
“The funding is for the 2016-17 school year and is equivalent to compensation for approximately 1,100 teachers,” reads a news release from the Ministry of Education. “The actual number of teachers hired will be determined by districts, local unions, and the hiring process.”
Victoria says the measures are “The first step in responding to the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada late last year.”
The ministry says the funding will be applied to the following areas:
- Hiring additional classroom school teachers this year where it is feasible to do so given current timetable, physical space and labour supply limitations.
- Hiring additional speciality teachers where its feasible including special education teachers, speech language pathologists, behaviour specialist, school psychologists, Aboriginal support teachers, counsellors, ELL and teacher librarians.
- Where feasible, it may go to add additional teachers during the current school year. The money may also be used to fund district-level capacity building opportunities such as upgrading existing teacher qualifications during the current school year, teacher recruitment programs and teacher mentoring programs.
The government says the so-called “priority measures Memorandum of Agreement” gives districts “flexibility to work with their local teachers’ union to determine how best to use the funding to provide additional education services for students by hiring new teachers and specialist teachers.”
The parties continue to meet and jointly review the old contract language as well as current district-level information on classrooms and composition. No timetable on a final agreement has been given.
Victoria says the $50 million is “new money” in addition to the $5.1 billion invested in public education in B.C. which includes $100 million in the learning improvement fund that is already in place to hire more teachers and education assistants.
Both Education Minister Mike Bernier and BCTF president Glen Hansman plan to address the agreement later this afternoon.