Education minister shocked by teacher layoffs in SD43

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

BC’s Education minister was surprised to learn School District 43 has sent out 632 layoff notices to its teachers.

Peter Fassbender was told about the layoffs by CKNW.

“I find it difficult to believe that there is that many teachers that have been given layoff notices. I don’t have the facts as you have stated. I will say this that every school district, as is the province, are managing their budgets within a fiscal environment that we have to, to protect taxpayers but also to protect the system.”

Fassbender says the province has made significant investments into what he calls BC’s world leading education system.

“Every school district has to look a there ability to deliver within a fiscal environment and Coquitlam has got challenges fiscally and they are having to manage those. That is why the government provides districts with block funding and they manage those dollars as efficiently and as affectively as they can. Both for there students but also for the taxpayers.”

Despite the teachers layoffs in Coquitlam and budget cuts being made in Coquitlam and many other school districts Fassbender insists BC’s education system will not take a hit.

“If I look at outcomes. If I look at how we are doing as a province. In this country and on the world stage we are one of the leaders that doesn’t mean we haven’t got more work to do. We also as a government have invested significantly and continue to in education since 2001.”

School District 43 blamed budget cuts and fewer retirees for the layoffs and added many teachers could be re-hired in September.

Comments

  1. What’s “shocking” is how Minister Fastbender and the Liberals continue to scapegoat the school boards and district education offices for the problems in the education system. If there was a problem before with how boards allocated their spending, this issue no longer exists. Constant downloading of costs from the ministry to the individual boards has left nowhere else to cut except areas that directly impact kids.

  2. Mr. FactBender is surprised !!!!! That’s what happens when you choke off funding for the past 12 years. Enough of this CRAP BC Liberals, parents want the education system properly funded. Christy Clark’s son doesn’t have to attend overcrowded classrooms, but to heck with the rest of the children in Public school. Parents you have the power, use it, contact your MLA.

  3. On another story they said over 400 would be hired back, maybe they don’t have to pay benefits to layed off employees there now part timers like what would happens in the private sector. I’m sure they will all be eligible for UIC.

      • It’s an a “they would not be eligible” it’s they are not eligible. The moment they receive a contract, they lose that EI. They either know between now and the first week of July, or after the last week of August and through.

  4. but there is no problem paying $16.000 for a student to do a research trip to Europe. What a load of crap the Lieberals are..I`m surprised the comment section is open, a first for NW, usually they close the comment section when it concerns the Lieberals..

    • This is from the BCTF website:

      “Teachers whose contracts terminate on June 30, including those on temporary contracts, can file a claim effective July 1 for regular El benefits during the summer. The acceptance of a new contract for the next school year does affect eligibility for regular El benefits–El will not pay benefits after the effective date of the acceptance of a new appointment.”

  5. As a parent with 2 children in SD43, I too am surprised how the Minister was shocked however this is an annual occurrence – at least with SD43. Last year over 400 teachers were laid off and I am unsure how many were hired back for September. What I do understand is that SD43 was audited and the number one concern was their lack of budgeting abilities. An important recommendation from that report was for SD43 to employ a person with an accounting/financial background to initiate and implement the budgets going forward. The first item SD43 cut from the budget was the employment of this essential person. The other challenges for SD43 and their budget included the projected increase in overhead due to rate hikes in items like utilities and the mandatory wage increases for teachers as per their collective agreement.

    I can’t help but feel that the majority of the budgetary issues is due to the poor budgeting by inexperienced persons with no financial backgrounds to effectively work a multi-million dollar budget. I am not saying that there would never be short falls in the budget but I am wondering if it may have been significantly lower than 13 million.

    All levels in the education debate are responsible in my opinion. All levels from government to school district to the BCTF are responsible to where we sit today and the only ones suffering are the children. Each one of these important divisions of education are self preserving and fail time and time again to come to an agreement. They constantly point fingers at each other without taking responsibility.

    • The Minister was shocked by the number, which was 50% more than last year, not the fact it happened

      Last year all but two were rehired. Something to do with less students.

      With regard to getting qualitified individuals involved, it’s similar to the audit of the VSB where the same comment were made. Training programs were made available and the board was encouraged to get at least a basic understanding of public funding and the budgeting process. The majority felt it wasn’t a benefit and declined.

      What would be a benefit is a proper third party audit and review of the whole process. Perhaps take one of the larger school boards and follow the funds from the Ministry all the way through the process. Then we could all see if the funding formula requires changing and/or are there better ways of managing the funds to get the best education for the children in the system.

    • I would disagree and say that the whole system is suffering…

      Did you know that districts are constantly asked to pay for things like seismic upgrading, CUPE contract agreements and other big ticket items from within existing budgets? They are forced to be carbon neutral which is a challenge in many districts; they are not funded to meet their Hydro needs, just political optics. The government has agreed to contractual items and then instructed districts to pay from within their existing budgets. Offloading that has catastrophic effects. The system is starting to implode and government is taking no responsibility. Everyday I see the impact of the underfunding in your children’s classrooms and schools. Schools and districts have been trying hard to do more with less, creative solutions for meeting the needs of students are running out. People at all levels, from administrators, teachers, education assistants and parents need to stand up with districts and say together that our system isn’t working and we want and deserve better in a province like BC.

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