1,000 New Teachers Just a ‘First Step’ says BCTF
Prince George, B.C. – It’s going to take a lot more than about 1,000 new teachers to satisfy the BCTF.
That’s what president Glen Hansman suggested during a news conference today where he commented on a $50 million memorandum of agreement between the province and the teachers’ union (see previous story here).
He’s touted the agreement – which will provide immediate and new funding to create 1,000-1,100 teacher full-time equivalents for the balance of this school year – as just the first step on the road to a final deal.
“As for what’s next, we will now move to focus on our most important goal and that’s the full implementation of the pre-2002 collective agreement language that the Supreme Court of Canada restored in November 2016,” said Hansman.
“While the new funding announced today is badly needed and will help many teachers and students, the government will have to provide significantly more funding to meet the requirements of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling.”
He didn’t put a dollar value on how much the BCTF is expecting it will take to satisfy their demands but noted time is of the essence.
“The BCTF’s goal is to ensure that these talks are not long or drawn out and that all boards of education, schools, teachers, students and parents have certainty about how and when the language will be restored,” said Hansman.
“It’s important for parents and the public to understand how our restored contract language will make a difference for kids. The language guarantees support for students with special needs and manageable class sizes for all.”
B.C. Education Minister Mike Bernier also acknowledged today’s agreement is but a “first step.”
“This is the first step towards a final agreement but we did not want to wait,” he said. “This is a complex issue with complex wording and more discussion needs to take place.”
He said it’s too soon to say when a final deal will be reached other than to say “It will be the result of more negotiating.”
But in the short term, Hansman noted decisions on how and when the preliminary $50 million will be spent will be decided at the local level.
“The allocation of this net funding at the school district level is to be jointly developed and decided through a district committee established by the superintendent and our local union president in that school district.”