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October 27, 2017 3:50 pm

SD57 ‘Working Hard’ to Ensure Enough Teachers Hired by September

Thursday, August 24, 2017 @ 5:58 AM

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Prince George, B.C. – There’s been little rest for the Prince George School District’s HR department this summer.

The District is busy trying to hire enough teachers to ensure its in compliance with last year’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling which mandated smaller class sizes and more teachers in public schools across the province.

Prince George School Board chair Tim Bennett

“Thousands and thousands of teachers are being hired to meet that ruling. Our Board and trustees from around the North have been very vocal about the fact that we really worry about the number of teaching vacancies and how we need to recruit and retain teachers to our northern communities,” says school board chair Tim Bennett.

“I had the opportunity to speak to Education Minister (Rob) Fleming a couple of weeks ago and I voiced those concerns to him as well. Our HR department is working with the city, with the region, to continue to promote the benefits of living in School District 57.”

He says the ruling has allowed for the hiring of around 85 new teachers plus non-enrolling positions like teacher-librarians though he wasn’t specific on how many more hires the District needs to make.

“It’s a bit of a process. There’s a lot of moving parts over the summer. Teachers may decide to explore other opportunities, maternity leaves, things that pop up over the summer. Again, HR is working very hard to ensure we have teachers in front of students and that we have a healthy ttoc (substitute teachers) list, so teachers, when they’re sick, we have teachers in front of students.”

Bennett says one thing that would help with recruitment efforts would be adding K-12 education to the Province’s Student Loan Forgiveness program.

“When it was originally created, it was for K-12 education. They’ve taken it away from K-12 and applied it to every other sector.

“But if we have an opportunity where new teachers can go to our rural communities – spend a period of time there and have loans forgiven, it’s an opportunity to get people into rural communities, fall in love with communities, and quite often hopefully stay.”


The recovery from the liberals and the destruction of our education will take a few years .

    The teachers will still demand more money, better benefits and even more time off regardless of how many of them there are.

    PS. The education system has been broken for a lot longer then the Liberals have been around.

      So true! Teachers will never be satisfied.

    Kind of like the Fast Ferries, and the housing prices in the 90’s. Oh wait, that was the NDP.

      Obviously you dumb clucks never went to school and dont have a friggin clue. Just because grade two was the hardest thing in your life dont blame the teachers!!

      Of course it’s never the teacher’s fault is it? Those poor overworked souls, we should extend their summer vacation by another week or so.

      ice, if you are going to call people “dumb clucks” who “never went to school and don’t have a friggin clue”, you should ensure that your comment contains spelling and punctuation that is 100% perfect!

      For example, dont should be spelled don’t!

      Now, let’s see if you can find any other errors, or perhaps you would rather have one of us dumb clucks point them out to you!

      Cheers! ;-)

      ice, if you are going to call people “dumb clucks” who “never went to school and don’t have a friggin clue”, you should ensure that your comment contains spelling and punctuation that is 100% perfect!

      For example, dont should be spelled don’t!

      Now, let’s see if you can find any other errors, or perhaps you would rather have one of us dumb clucks point them out to you!

      Cheers! ;-)


      Would it be nit picky to find fault with the fact that you chose not to contract “you are” into “you’re”, yet you did use “let’s” instead of “let us”? It does come across as a bit inconsistent. LOL :)

      NMG, what do you expect from me, after all I’m just a dumb cluck!

      I don’t believe that my use of or failure to use a contraction is incorrect, nor do I believe that it is required to be consistent.

      “Technically speaking, contractions aren’t necessary in written English. Using the full version of a word is always grammatically correct. However, there are a number of reasons why contractions do serve a valuable stylistic purpose. For example:

      – Contractions make your writing seem friendly and accessible. They give the appearance that you are actually “talking” to your reader.
      – When writing dialogue in a novel or play, contractions help reflect how a character actually speaks.
      – Contractions help to save space when preparing advertisements, slogans, and other written works that must be short and to the point.

      ht tp://grammar.yourdictionary.com/style-and-usage/using-contractions.html#or7awYY3c6xvhCk2.99

      Perhaps you might explain where I am incorrect in my use of or failure to use a contraction?


      I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, although for formal writing, I’ve typically seen them not used at all.

      At the end of the day, I don’t really care. I was just playing around :)

      NMG, no problem!

      I sometimes “poke the bear” just to see what kind of reaction that I get! The fact that I can refer to myself as a “dumb cluck” shows that while I am more than capable of dishing it out, I am also able to take it in, haha!


Sounds like they have the ok to hire more teachers, but can’t find enough to work in the rural areas. Forgiving their loans is just another way of paying them more money.

What do we do if we cannot find sufficient teachers? Do we increase the class size. Hmmmmmm.

Part of the problem is that teachers in Alberta receive over $10,000 a year more than BC. Several young teachers from this area have taken that option. The other is that it takes 10 years to build up to full salary/. That is a 10 year apprentiship after you have paid for 5 years of university.

    Jack son. You make it sound like a hardship. Seems to me the starting salary is around $60,000.00 per year and it goes up from there.

      One would think that a teacher with 5 years university then put on a ridiculous graduated pay scale for 10 years is worth a hell of a lot more than the starting salary. My question to you is…what does an unskilled labourer in a sawmill make/worth…a truck driver in a coal mine…a rough neck from the patch…pulpmill worker…tradesman…logger… on and on. Had a guy come over to do some simple chores…he wanted $45.00/HR. Go figure???

      Some easily searchable information for you…

      The starting salary for a beginning teacher with a BEd and an undergraduate degree in SD57 is $48,512.00. Based on a ‘normal work year’ of 2000 hours, that would equate to a little over $24.00 an hour. One does not hit $60,000.00 until year five on the salary grid. A teacher who does not have a BEd or a Bachelors Degree but holds a Teaching Certificate or is working on a Letter of Permission (a Red Seal mechanic, for example) starts at $45,229.00 and does not reach $60,000 until year 7. It is true that there are benefits and pension on top of this, which would increase the overall total remuneration; however, this is not calculated in the overall salary.

      Teaching is essentially a 12 year process before you top out on the salary grid. Two years where it actually costs you to teach as get to pay to be part of a degree program at a university, and then the ten years it takes to reach the top of the grid. Often, there is the four or five year period where teachers are on the TTOC list (Substitute Teacher list) before they get a Continuing Contract. In my case, I started late. I was in my late 40s before I reached the top of the grid. My choice, my problem. No regrets.

      I have taught kids who graduated high school, did an apprenticeship, became welders, and make $20,000 a year more than I do. All the power to them. I could have taken that path, I chose not to. Again, my choice, my problem, no regrets.

      Good info Billy 68.It appears there is a lot of ignorance about the teaching profession. little Johnny is fortunate to have teachers that lead him on his way. There are many parents that depend on our schools to start him out on a life’s journey.

      billy 68 I would question some of your assumptions.

      Teacher’s work about 9.5 months a year, even at an average of 45 hours a week it’s about 1850 hours – and I’m not deducting ProD days because technically they are work. So closer to $26.00 an hour. But, they also get extended health, extended dental, short term and long term disability, and a defined benefit pension – something that doesn’t exist in the private sector anymore. Those alone would put their total compensation package to start closer to $60,000.00 so closer to $32.50 an hour.

      A lot of the blue collar jobs don’t have the same benefits, or the same job security.

      Teaching is a profession that is a cradle to grave proposition. Generally speaking, you start off with lower pay, you finish with decent pay, but more than that, your pension will keep you comfortable till the day you die – assuming all the children you taught become productive citizens and can afford to pay it.

      That said, I wouldn’t want their job, but I wouldn’t want the welders either. My brother who is pretty much physically shot at the ripe old age of 61 was a welder – and his pension from his union is about $800.00 a month. I bet he wishes he became a teacher.

      I was in my late 40s before I reached the top of the grid. My choice, my problem. No regrets.

      I have taught kids who graduated high school, did an apprenticeship, became welders, and make $20,000 a year more than I do. All the power to them. I could have taken that path, I chose not to. Again, my choice, my problem, no regrets.


      I like that approach. I’m also a professional. There are jobs and careers that offer far more earning potential than my job, in various fields of work. That’s fine. I chose my profession because I enjoy it. I also had a pretty good idea what the wage potential was like when I entered it. I went in with my eyes wide open.

      I have a hard time understanding how university educated teachers cannot do the same and evaluate whether they are willing to put in the time and effort to become a teacher, in exchange for the wages and work environment that they are going to experience.

      Ski51…those are great points, some of which I did cover, such as benefits and pension. I did not include those in any discussion of salary because not everyone takes benefits (i.e. already have a spousal plan) and pension varies depending upon salary, contract, etc. They can make calculations a bit difficult because of these factors. However, as I did say, we do get pension and we do get benefits. We also get to pay into EI, which we are not able to collect if we are on a continuing contract, we pay union dues, and professional dues (BC College of Teachers fees – albeit, these are not steep by any means). Professional Development days, which the Ministry of Education has taken to calling Non-Instructional Days, are, in fact, working days. Most of my colleagues attend workshops, give workshops, or are engaged in some sort of collaborative work with others. Those who choose to do something non-school related (and there are those) run the risk of being caught and facing discipline – their choice, not mine.

      My contractual day is 6 hours and 45 minutes. The average school year is about 188 days. the math is simple: 6.75 X 188=1269 hours. I know, I know, substantially less than the 2000 hours a regular 40 hour per week job demands. However, depending on the week and the assignments that I have collected and need to assess, I can add between 3 to five hours to that total on a daily basis. Seriously. Four blocks of thirty students with assessment adds up to a lot of time. The time just vapourizes. On top of this is any preparation and lesson planning that has to be done on a daily or weekly basis.

      What I do know is that I put in somewhere between 1800 and 2000 hours of work into about 40 weeks of the year, which gives me an actual work week of between 45-50 hours. That is equivalent to a full time, regular paying job over 52 weeks. And I think I’m slacking. I have elementary school colleagues who give up one day every weekend to prepare for the upcoming week, on top of what they bring home every night. This can put their work week at close to 60 hours, with a large chunk of that late at night or away from their own kids. Remember, we don’t get overtime. I’m not complaining. It is what we chose to do.

      Some teachers put in a great deal of ‘extra’ time. Others do not. Some take the ‘extra’ time that they have and put it back into the system – either through extra curricular activities such as sports or clubs, or by continually developing their knowledge and learning through self-funded Pro-D. Others volunteer with various community groups and organizations. Some just take their pay at the end of the month. To each, his or her own.

      Regarding teacher’s pensions, well, they do look pretty good, until one looks at what has been stripped out of them, and the increase in the cost of living which is not entirely indexed. Our pension is paid for by our employer (the government, which ultimately means the tax payers, of which I am one) and ourselves. In a weird way, teachers doubly contribute to their pension through their portion and the government portion – I know, we are ultimately public servants, but we pay taxes back to the government on the earnings we make that we collect from the government.

      I am not making assumptions. The above comments are based on experience, discussion with colleagues, and observation. Do I think I’m underpaid? No, not really. I have a job that allows me to work really hard some days/weeks, and less hard on others. Ultimately, though, I am responsible for providing my students with a valuable educational opportunity and helping them grow and achieve their goals, dreams, and ambitions. That, in and of itself, is priceless.

      On the pensions, I think there are many people out there who don’t realize how much money is contributed to the plans by the employees. The amounts vary by plan, but I think most of them have contribution rates of roughly 10% of gross earnings.

      How many people working in regular jobs making $70K a year are dumping roughly $600 a month into RRSPs for their entire working career? I’d hazard a guess that the number is extremely low.

      This isn’t to say that the pension plans are not a huge benefit, because they are, but let’s also consider how much of the fund is generated through employee contributions. It’s significant.

      NMG, if in fact the employees are contributing 10% of gross income to their pension plan, why on earth would they then need the employer, ie the taxpayer, to also kick in to the plan!

      As far as people working in “regular jobs” not dumping more into their RRSP’s, perhaps they could afford to contribute more if they weren’t forced to contribute to public sector pension plans!

      It’s probably so that when they raid the pension fund and divert some of the funds to cover off other spending priorities, they can do so with a little less guilt on their conscience . . .

Can’t you see Clark just fuming over this.. she tried to destroy the education system in BC ever since she was education minister, lost several times in court over ripping up the teachers contract illegally. Closed schools etc etc.

Now she gets to read that the non liberals are trying to give it some life back.

    The LIBERAL party of BC is directly responsible for the mess that education is in. To deflect otherwise is kind of like the Ostrich/sand syndrome.

      Without using BCTF / NDP rhetoric, please tell us what this “mess” is and how it’s the fault of the government.

      Kids not being able to read or write or do simple math seems to me to be more of a teacher issue then a government one.

      Could be a parent issue as well.

Where are you Shirley? Maybe you can tell us why we are having problems finding teachers. Yes axman it would be a teacher issue if you could not find one.

Show me your stats??? Kids is that plural or just the kid down the block???

I think part of our recruitment problem is the misconceptions people have about Prince George. If you’re a starting teacher in Vancouver, even if you commute from Surrey, the best you can afford is likely a basement suite rental, maybe you can buy a small condo if your parents kick in the down payment.

In Prince George, you can buy a single family dwelling – assuming parents help.

In Prince George, your commute is under 20 minutes and you can drive in the car you can afford vs being shipped like cattle on skytrain.

In Prince George, if you’re at all outdoors inclined, you can be fishing, mountain biking, hiking, skiing, golfing, hunting (that’s a joke, teacher’s find hunting evil), swimming, playing soccer, playing hockey, all within 30 minutes from where you live.

But, if restaurants and coffee shops and theater and big city life is what you desire, yeah, Prince George sucks. Mind you, if you lived here, you could afford to fly to the big apple half a dozen times a year to get your yuppie fix.

I grew up in the Lower Mainland, and I only go there when forced. Even if I go to Whistler, I go via Cache Creek.

And yes, sometimes our city smells, unlike the Fraser Valley which stinks of manure and the smog that the Greenie city of Vancouver sends down the pipe. But when it does smell here, you can get into the pristine wilderness in about 30 minutes.

    There is a lot of truth in what you tell us, but its your imagination when you talk about air quality. There no longer is a manure smell in the Fraser Valley,

    I moved from PG because the BCR industrial site screwed up my lungs and yes there is a lot of out door activity but remember you live in a polluted environment that you breath every day.

      Retired. There still is the manure stink. You have just gotten used to it.

      I live in a pristine air and watershed 30 minutes from my work. Not sure where you think all that carbon monoxide coming out of the vehicles on Hwy 1 goes, but chances are, right into your lungs. And I was in Chilliwack just last year, and the smell was there.

    The problem with your analysis is that you are comparing Prince George to Vancouver. What you should be doing is comparing Prince George with Chilliwack, Kamloops. Kelowna, Nanaimo, etc. Actually, you should be comparing Prince George to Red Deer, Lethbridge, Regina, Saskatoon, Kingston, etc.

    Teachers are needed everywhere and if they’re mobile (which you have to assume they are in order for your analysis to be relevant), the comparable cities should extend far beyond the BC border.

    The only other point I’ll raise is that you seem to be suggesting that the “outdoors” things are not available if someone chooses “big city” life. That’s simply not true. Some of the things you mentioned are more readily available in big cities because the larger population base means more demand, which drives more supply. I’m thinking golf courses, recreational facilities, etc. The other stuff is largely dependant on the location of the city, its geography and whether you choose to take advantage of what the area has to offer.

Maybe your nose needs a tune up from constantly breathing the bad air that you live with. I don’t understand you pg people that are always concerned about Fraser valley air quality when you live in the PG soup from day to day.

Maybe that’s why you have problem recruiting teachers for your schools which is what this news item is al about.

    Hey retired where can I get a good deal on a bullet proof vest down your way?

    I really didn’t want to feed the troll but ya 02 it still stinks there. i was just there. You are the one that always sticks your nose in up here, coming from a guy who lived and worked here his whole life , reaped all the benefits then sits and bad mouths what gave him what he has. The sad part is sounds like you still haven’t found something fun to do :)

P Val. If Christy Clark was trying to destroy the education system in BC what did she expect to gain if she was successful.???

Did she set out to destroy the system because she did not have anything else to do??

Just askin.

    Just a good thing we got rid of Stephen Harper and Christy Clark or they would be planning to bring in TFW,s, have them trained, give them a teachers certificate and could work for min wage.

Yes i believe that was her ulterior motive. I do know one thing for sure and that is the money it cost us in the end. All because of her political BS!!! Inflated court costs out of my pocket and yours to HART GUY. Go and mull that one over Bud.

    What, no mention of the massively expensive and clearly unaffordable “sweetheart deal” contract that the dying Glen Clark NDP Government gifted to the BCTF?

    None of this BS as you put it, would likely have occurred in the first place if not for that NDP gift!

    There is absolutely no denying that the Glen Clark NDP Government was wrong to give away the farm to the BCTF in the first place! Even Ujjal Dosanjh and Carole James both declared the deal unaffordable!

    Go and mull that one over Bud!

Ice that fellow who charged you $45 and hour did that money go directly into his pocket with no expenses? He is most likely charging you a unit cost with his pay and all expenses lumped in. Vehicle, tools, pension, medical etc.

    ice neglected to say what the “simple chores” were!

    ice, what would you have charged if you were the guy that got called over to do some simple chores? Before you answer, please be sure to put yourself in that guys position, likely self-employed with no pension, no benefits, no paid vacation and with costs for a vehicle, tools, licencing, etc.!

    Would $45.00 have been enough for you?

      Yes I would be interested in knowing what these simple chores were. Did this person have to bring any of their own equipment or hand tools to perform this simple task. Travel time?

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