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

Victoria woman sets date to swim the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Susan Simmons will attempt to be the first to swim the Strait twice starting Saturday afternoon

Victoria Police arrest man in relation to indecent act at Beacon Hill Park

The man is known to police, and is facing three charges

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

New 84-unit seniors housing in Saanich constructed to Built Green standards

Mount Doug Manor an example of Built Green on a big scale

Materials linked to 1992 Colwood murder found at construction site in Metchosin

West Shore RCMP investigating to determine if relevant to the old case

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Hospitals to see ‘delays’ in care after losing Saudi students, health group says

About 1,000 Saudi residents called back to kingdom after suspending diplomatic relations with Canada

Bernier diatribe against ‘extreme multiculturalism’ boosts Liberal coffers

Party spokesperson Braeden Caley says online donations doubled, social media engagement quadrupled

‘Disjointed’ system hinders British Columbia First Nations in wildfire fight

More than 550 wildfires were burning in B.C. and crews were bracing for wind and dry lightning

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

First long-awaited Cyclone lands near Victoria airport

Military helicopter first of nine to come to Saanich Peninsula base

Court sides with developer in Jumbo ‘substantially started’ dispute

Resort developer successfully argues 2014 decision that halted the project was unfair

Most Read