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October 27, 2017 7:14 pm

Is There Enough Room for New Teachers?

Monday, January 23, 2017 @ 5:55 AM

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.


Enrollment has plummetted in the district, so why do we need more teachers? Oh yeah, who cares because the BCTF looks after itself first.


    Not sure how an increase of 117 students translates into “enrollment (sic) has plummetted (sic).”

What? Is Rusty commenting on a news story he hasn’t bothered to read? Now there’s a surprise.

Close half the schools in our district, and now 12 schools in the district are operating at above capacity, and they are talking about portables! Nothing but the best in public education for our kids!!!

I wasn’t clear in my initial comment, I was looking at enrollment over the past 20 years, not the one year snapshot mentioned in the article. The School District dragged their heels to close schools in the face of declining numbers.

Let’s not forget that MLA Bond campaigned hard for no portables in her district in her early days.(That is how we ended up with Heather Park Middle School and busing for elementary schools in the area) Time to remind her that her government has created a perfect storm and is about to force the District back into portables after long term under funding and failed court cases.

This addition of 1000 teachers to the BC schools is all smoke and mirrors. I think we will get a different response after the election if Christy Crunch is elected in May.

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