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

Chilliwack school board speaks for first time on implications B.C. Supreme Court ruling on class size and composition may have.

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.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Young Abbotsford cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

Abbotsford parents upset as district gets cohort exemption to maximize class sizes at elementary school

Classes and cohorts shuffled after division eliminated at King Traditional elementary school

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

VIDEO: Shots fired outside Langley gas station that was scene of 2018 homicide

No reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read