More teachers will be arriving in Langley schools, but how many and where remains up in the air.
Late last week, Education Minister Mike Bernier announced $50 million in interim funding to hire up to 1,100 teachers this school year.
“There will be challenges… with getting the teachers, and in some cases, space to put them in,” said Langley School Board chair Rob McFarlane.
District secretary treasurer David Green was waiting for specifics from the B.C. government about how much money is coming. The district expects to hire 35 to 40 new teachers and postings are going out as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Langley Teachers Association president Wendy Cook estimated it will lead to many full-time equivalent positions here.
New positions are expected to include classroom teachers, special education teachers, school psychologists, aboriginal support teachers, and teacher librarians, among others.
Cook said the LTA will be working with the district and consulting on a process to get teachers hired quickly.
“We really want to make sure that we’re bringing in the teachers where they’re most needed in the schools,” Cook said.
She was looking forward to seeing the specialist teachers return, including counsellors, resource teachers, and team teachers in classrooms with higher numbers of students with special needs.
But getting that many specialized teachers all at once may be difficult, McFarlane said.
The hiring may be a mixture of what the district would like to do, and what it can do, he said.
“Right now, nobody knows what it will look like,” McFarlane said.
“A part of that will be the space issue as well,” McFarlane said.
Some schools won’t have the room to add more classes immediately, even if there is money.
Cook is pleased that the interim funding is expected to just be a start, as the BCTF negotiates with the province over the final deal.
The funding is a step towards the end of the 14-year legal struggle between Victoria and the union that first began in 2002, when then-education minister Christy Clark removed class size and special needs support staffing ratios from the union contract.
The dispute went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in the teachers’ favour in November 2016.