News

Chilliwack school board fears uncertainties surrounding B.C. Supreme Court ruling

Chilliwack school board's concerns regarding the recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling is no different than that of other school districts.

Fears around implementation, costs, student disruption, and space were all expressed in a conference call between various school board members from across the province Wednesday.

One of the biggest issues is the uncertainty, said Chilliwack board of education vice chair Silvia Dyck who sat in on the call.

Last month the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favour of the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) calling Bill 28 unconstitutional.

Bill 28, which was legislated by the Liberal government in 2002, removed class size and composition from collective bargaining.

In the ruling, the provincial government was ordered to restore class size and pay $2 million in damages to BCTF.

The government is appealing the decision.

"We're waiting for direction from a variety of fronts, the ministry, the government, BCPSEA," said Dyck. "We're getting prepared to deal with whatever we need to … which no one is sure of at this point in time.

"We're in a holding pattern right now."

In Chilliwack, the school board has directed staff to analyze the district's current class size and composition ratios and to determine any implications there may be. The board will review the data in an in-camera meeting on Feb. 18.

Dyck already knows space will be a significant struggle.

"If suddenly we have to increase classes, where will we find the room?" she asked. "For shrinking districts, it's probably not so bad, but for us, it certainly is a problem – there's no room."

Chilliwack continues to be one of the few growing school districts in the province.

"We have concerns around implementation; the world has changed since 2002, and what was good at that point in time may not be in the best interest of students today," said Dyck.

"Just hoping that wiser heads will prevail and they'll recognize that the implementation so quickly of this would harm our students' education. Disrupting classes is not in the best interest of students and that's where our priorities lie."

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Chilliwack keeps its competitive edge
 
Election 2014: Chilliwack crime rate is trending downward
 
Native art stolen in break-in
Trio of fine Canadian musicians on a Sunday
 
Back Country Horsemen of B.C.
 
Empty coal trains to continue travelling on lightly-used SRY line in North Langley until Nov. 30
Shooting on 12th Street
 
Transit investment key to Metro Vancouver future, conference hears (with VIDEO)
 
Banners honour Pitt Meadows vets

Community Events, November 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 31 edition online now. Browse the archives.