Surrey scrambling to fill teacher-on-call lists

School district on track to fill hundreds of teaching jobs by September

With September just weeks away, the Surrey School District said staff aren’t having trouble filling dozens of news teaching positions.

A Supreme Court of Canada ruling last year led to the province agreeing to fund 2,600 more teachers around B.C.

The commitment, which will cost the province $330 million, came after a 15-year legal battle with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

The court case cost the B.C. government $2.6 million in legal costs. The settlement is to provide a system to carry the province’s public school system to 2019, when the current teacher contract must be renegotiated.

The B.C. education ministry issued a statement this week saying progress is being made to hire teachers to meet the agreement reached between the former government and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.

“We’ve been advised that most school districts are successfully hiring the teachers they need to be in compliance with the [agreement] with the BCTF – and also to meet local enrolment growth,” the ministry said. “However, there are some recruitment and retention challenges, especially for specialist positions and replenishing teacher-on-call lists.”

READ: Province funds 2,600 more teachers

The Surrey School District just filled 90 postings last week, said spokesperson Doug Strachan.

“Our focus is on backfilling to ensure we have enough teachers on the teacher-on-call list,” said Strachan. “A lot of the hirings come from that list. The list is typically 200 long.”

The district had 325 positions to fill for the 2017/18 school year.

Of those, 138 were in-classroom jobs created by the court ruling. Another 30 are in-classroom spots because of 800-1,000 new students enrolling.

READ: Surrey must create 168 new classrooms, hire 300 teachers by September

The remaining 157 jobs are support, or non-enrolling, teachers, Strachan said.

He could not provide a breakdown as to how many of those were hired out of the court decision, citing the ongoing dispute resolution process between the government and the teachers’ union.


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