Chilliwack schools may feel pinch from teacher strike

Funding from international students in jeopardy if teacher strike continues.

If strike action continues come September, it’s not just teachers who will suffer salary depletion.

Individual schools could also feel the pinch.

Chilliwack school district brings in over $1 million a year with its international program; the majority of which is distributed to the individual schools housing those students.

If the strike continues, there are concerns international students will pull out of the school district – which would be a financial hit for individual schools.

“The bulk of the international funding goes to the schools with the international students,” said Gerry Slykhuis, secretary treasurer of the Chilliwack school district.

“It provides quite a bit of extra revenue to the schools that have them. It would be a concern [for those schools] because it augments a lot of programs within the schools.”

Slykhuis couldn’t provide exact numbers on how many international students the school district gets on average a year. The school district’s international coordinator is currently away on holidays.

However, a year’s tuition is $11,500. Some students are full year, while others are partial.

Because of the teacher strike, schools were closed for a total of 13 days. Students in grades 9 and younger did not have final exams or report cards. That means, for some international students, they did not receive the full Canadian education experience.

The Chilliwack school district, at this time, will not be reimbursing international parents for strike days.

International enrollment for the 2014-15 school year has not yet been impacted by the labour strife, but that could change.

“If the strike resumes in September, there may be people pulling out,” said Slykhuis. “If it looks as though there’s no end in sight, and it’s been going on that long, it starts to worry people.

“The strike impact on international students is a concern for all the school districts.”

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

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