Updated: Coquitlam teachers rally against cutbacks

Vancouver, BC, Canada / (CKNW AM) AM980

Teachers in School District 43 are rallying on the streets of Coquitlam after hundreds were handed layoff notices.

Hundreds of teachers gathered along Como Lake Road in Coquitlam, waving at motorists, and wearing signs with a number: those numbers indicate layoffs, and 632 layoff notices were handed out this year.

Teachers say they are fearful of the impact job cuts could have on students.

Most are wearing black, and the rally is called “March to Mourn BC Ed.”

The Coquitlam Teacher’s Association says while layoffs are common, the sheer number this year makes the situation unprecedented.

The association blames underfunding from the provincial government to keep up with cost pressures, noting the district was faced with a 13.4 million dollar funding shortfall this year.

The Superintendent of School District 43 says the bloodletting of staff will, for some, be permanent, unlike years past.

Tom Grant says out of 632 teachers who received layoff notices somewhere between 60 to 80 will not be rehired in September.

Grant says it is not just teachers as pink slips went out to school support workers as well.

“We have let go 200. Many of those are part time and so there will be bumping throughout the system probably from now until September as well. There will probably be 40 to 50 fewer of those in the fall as well.”

“The primary reason from our perspective is that we are having to make $13 million worth of reductions and 92% of our budget is staffing and so you see the reductions at the support staff, your administration, and your teachers.”

Aside from budget cuts Grant says fewer retirees this year is also making things difficult.

Comments

  1. Very difficult situation. On one hand, claims of declining enrolment, on the other hand claims of overcrowded classrooms. Layoff notices appear to be the most appropriate method to partially deal with funding of education, I don’t know of any taxpayers who want to pay more. Obviously, if 60 to 80 will not be recalled, we have a glut of teachers from the perspective of school board administration. Same with support staff. The BCTF wants more teachers. The public has no idea who to believe.
    SD43 budget is $300M, $250M is instruction – mostly teacher’s salary and benefits. If my math is correct, that means every person in SD43 area (Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam) pays over $1500 per year for education, $1250 of which is tagged instruction. There are two solutions, tax everyone more (direct more revenue to the district) or reduce costs.

    • 632 teachers received layoff notices in Coquitlam. It was less in some other districts though. Perhaps the story this morning was referring to the number that likely won’t get any job back. The rest will probably get a job somewhere, just not necessarily in the same school teaching the same load. Makes it tough on kids to not have that continuity from year to year, especially the at-risk kids.

  2. That SD43 may eliminate school buses so that many schildren will be required to be parent-driven, take public transit or walk may not be particularly appealing.

    I’ve done my share of walking to school-up to 3 miles each way. And I’ve been to and from school in a covered horse-drawn wagon (complete with a stove) affectionately called a van.

    My single busing experience was limited to the time a yellow school bus transported my family away from our BC home-never to see it again.

    But, walking has its benefits as a form of physical activity-especially in a mild climate. If walking any distance is a problem, parents do enjoy the freedom in our democracy to move closer to a school.

    • But D, all those teachers had a position this school year and there is no declining enrollment issue in SD43. So, where did all those positions disappear to? Cutbacks. Lack of retirements is a red herring. $13,000,000 in cutbacks to a budget that is 90% comprised of labour means a lot less jobs. The SD43 superintendent said it himself!

Leave a Reply