Is There Enough Room for New Teachers?
Prince George, B.C. – With as many as a dozen or two new teachers coming to the Prince George School District this school year, does the district have enough room to accommodate them?
According to a preliminary report presented to the Board last Nov. 24, 12 schools in the district are operating at above capacity – 11 in Prince George (the twelfth is Morfee Elementary in Mackenzie) – including three of the city’s five high schools (Duchess Park, College Heights and DP Todd).
In addition, the Ministry of Education recently confirmed enrolment was up by 117 students in the Prince George School District over last year.
“I think capacity is something the district has been watching very closely as of late,” says school board chair Tim Bennett.
“We have some areas of town that are really bursting at the seams. We know we have capacity issues up in the Hart, we know that the Board had made the decision late last school year to move Duchess Park Secondary to catchment only. So, capacity is something we have to watch very closely.”
Could it mean moving students into portables if necessary?
“I think there are numerous options to look at. Portables could be one. We also could be looking at how space is utilized in schools. Modular units outside of portables,” he says. “There’s a whole bunch of options that I would just be speculating if I was to say this is how we’re going to solve capacity issues.”
How about reopening schools?
“Well, that’s a conversation that’s happing at the senior level. It’s not easy to just open a school all of a sudden though,” says Bennett.
“A lot of the schools have been closed for seven years and while the schools have been heated, there’s still infrastructure needs to bring them up to a situation where a school could open for students again.”
The issue raised its head earlier this month when the provincial government and the BC Teachers Federation struck a $50 million deal for up to 1,100 new teachers this school year (see previous story here).
Since that time the Prince George School District and the Prince George and District Teachers’ Association have been holding closed door meetings on how to spend their cut of the funding – $1.26 million.