The Vernon Teachers Association says nothing has been resolved about the composition of classes with the new school year just a couple of weeks away.
Association President Lisa LaBoucane says when teachers won at the Supreme Court of Canada over class size and composition, most thought the issue was resolved.
But she says the Vernon School District still isn’t co-operating.
“The District still isn’t recognizing some of the students with special educational needs, therefore teachers are going to be starting the year and moving through the year without receiving the additional supports in the classrooms.”
LaBoucane says students identified with special educational needs at the highest frequencies will suffer the most.
The disagreement between the teachers and district has to go to arbitration and no date has been set for that.
“We have several hundred classrooms that we’ve identified as cause for composition concerns and we have that many active grievances, so we’re all waiting, and waiting isn’t good because we’ve been waiting for 15 years.”
Lisa LaBoucane says special needs teachers are hard to find as well.
But school districts need to be able to properly address the right mix of special needs children and those who can help them.
“It just makes it more challenging. It takes a team of people to provide the best program possible for our students and it makes it incredibly difficult for the classroom teacher to do it alone.”
As far as class size goes, LaBoucane says that’s been a relatively easy fix.
“Some of our primary classrooms we will see smaller classes by a couple of kids. Generally, intermediate classes won’t be smaller. Some of them will reduce down to 28 students down from 30 students.”
She says shop and tech classes will be smaller, which will improve safety for students.
LaBoucane says the NDP government has shown a committment to improving education issues.
She’s hoping the government agrees to a BCTF request to sit down and continue to work on recruitment and retention policies.