Province opens class-size discussions as teachers demand changes

  • May. 9, 2011 4:00 p.m.

The Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association has not ruled out job action, though its president says the province is taking steps in the right direction.

The government has agreed to negotiate class size and composition with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation over the next year.

“We need an immediate increase in funding and we need some commitment that we will try and have a resolution in place by the fall of 2011,” said Tara Ehrcke, president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association.

Finance Minister George Abbott announced Thursday that the province won’t appeal last month’s B.C. Supreme Court ruling that found the 2001 removal of class size and composition legislation unconstitutional.

Paul Straszak, president of the Public Sector Employers’ Council, will lead the initial phase of consultation, which will also assess special needs support in public schools.

Meanwhile, legislation around class size limits remains unchanged.

“We must be thoughtful and thorough in our approach,” Abbott said. “At the same time, we recognize that a prompt resolution is in the best interests of all those affected – teachers, students, parents and everyone with a stake in this province’s education system.”

Local and provincial teachers’ associations have called on the B.C. government to immediately infuse the 2011-12 education budget with $275 million, which is the amount the Ministry of Education expected to save annually when class size restrictions were lifted in 2001.

“Teachers are certainly expecting some improvements in terms of salary benefit and prep time,” Ehrcke added. “Whether those items get resolved by the fall, it’s not looking positive at this time.”

The BCTF’s current contract expires at the end of June. It was the first-ever negotiated contract with B.C.’s 40,000 teachers after a series of contracts were imposed by NDP and B.C. Liberal governments.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

-with files from Tom Fletcher

Just Posted

Local tongue-in-cheek opportunists flog snow huts

‘Executive’ and ‘eco-friendly’ one-bedrooms pop up on Craigslist and Used Victoria

Province urges backcountry adventurers to stay safe this weekend

Search and rescue responded to 28 incidents last Family Day weekend

Snow storms prompt reminders to prepare for emergencies

Province reminds public of essential supplies

West Shore fundraiser serves up hope for kids with food allergies

Proceeds assist Oral Immunotherapy Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital

Sidewalk Trio reuniting at The Oaks

The next Blues for Eric scholarship benefit concert is Feb. 23

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read