Hiring of new teachers will start right away to fill 34 new teaching positions in Chilliwack.
The newly-posted positions are a partial restoration of staffing levels following a years-long battle between the Province and the B.C. Teachers’ Federation that was settled late in December. By Jan. 5, the BCTF and province had hammered out a $50 million interim settlement to hire up to 1,100 teachers for this school year across B.C.
Chilliwack’s portion of that funding is $1,239,324 for Feb. 1 to June 30, and the staffing is to be implemented as soon as possible.
Chilliwack school district staff released the information in a board meeting on Tuesday night. The decisions on funding were made through recommendations from a district committee that included Superintendent Evelyn Novak and the Chilliwack Teachers’ Association president, Lee-Anne Clarke.
This is how the 34 positions will be divided across the city’s schools, according to the district’s Interim Priority Measures Agreement. There will be two FTEs at each secondary school, one to two at each middle school, one for each elementary school, with the exception of smaller schools, one for FVDES and CHANCE, and a .6 FTE position at the Ed Centre.
Additionally, the committee recommended hiring two FTE school psychologists.
While the CTA is happy to see an increase in teaching resources across the district, Clarke said there is still a long way to go to see a full restoration of 2002 staffing levels.
“This is an interim measure to start the process,” Clarke says. “It’s not the end of the process by any stretch of the imagination.”
The jobs are posted now, and hiring is to be complete by the end of February.
Clarke says the new positions will amount to some change in the classrooms.
“The big thing for parents is there should be more help for your child if they need it,” she says. “But it will be a different tactic in each school.”
She added that the addition of two FTE psychologists will be a huge benefit to the school. Currently there are the equivalent of four FTE psychologists.
“They do a lot of the testing that we’ve fallen behind in,” Clarke says.
There could be a surplus of funds, depending on teachers hired, and that will be re-assessed once the initial hiring is complete. The committee will then decide what to do with that surplus.