Vernon Teachers' Association says district moving too slow with class size and composition changes | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon Teachers' Association says district moving too slow with class size and composition changes

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June 23, 2017 - 11:21 AM

VERNON - The Vernon Teachers’ Association is accusing district officials of moving too slowly to roll out changes to class sizes and composition.

Association president Lisa LaBoucane says in a media release issued Thursday, June 22, School District 22 is taking too long restoring class sizes and supports for students with special needs. B.C. Teachers won the right to negotiate class size and composition in the Supreme Court of Canada in 2016.

“After 15 years of advocating for better working and learning conditions in our schools, parents and teachers rightfully expect the next school year to start with smaller classes and better support for children with special needs. It seems that the district's current processes and delays are putting the successful start of the next school year at risk,” LaBoucane says in the release.

She says implementation work has been going well in many areas of the province, but in Vernon, the process of restoring class size limits and support for students with special needs is “inexplicably being held up.” The association is telling teachers to prepare for uncertainty because classes may not be established for weeks into September.

"Teachers want to start working with their new students as soon as possible and are very concerned about losing valuable teaching time. Teachers, parents, and students need the Board of Education to communicate and to act to fulfill their side of the agreement. The VTA has been asking for months to work with the district on the implementation of the restored language and the prevention of potential issues. The process has been far too slow."

LaBoucane says the association is willing to work with the district through the summer to ensure a smooth start to the next school year. She urges parents to contact the Board of Education to voice their concerns about a "potentially chaotic" start to the school year as a result of the delays.

A media release from the Vernon School District issued today, June 23, indicates officials are continuing to work with the teachers’ association to plan and prepare for the implementation of the new language.

“The District is adding 38 teachers for September and the maintenance department is installing five portables, refurbishing classrooms and ordering classroom furniture and learning resources. Schools have been given their staffing allocations for September including teacher, education assistant, teacher-librarian and administration time and are completing their initial class placement meetings,” the district says in a release.

As new students arrive over the summer or in early September, some classes may need to be adjusted or divisions added to accommodate incoming students, the district says.

“This is a normal process that happens each September. Last fall we added divisions in elementary schools and classes in secondary schools.”

The district says it is working with the B.C. Public School Employers‘ Association and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation to “address any interpretation issues arising from the restored language and are meeting regularly with the Vernon Teachers' Association to ensure a successful school startup.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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