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