Ninety teachers hit with usual spring layoff notices

It's always disruptive

Around 90 teachers with the least seniority in School District 69 (Qualicum) have been issued “intent to layoff” notices as the district begins next year’s class and course assignments.

Assistant superintendent Rollie Koop said that soon after the routine annual notices were issued, around 90 positions were posted this week that those teachers can apply for.

But it is not as simple as carrying the same classes and teachers forward to the next year, he explained.

The combination of new and departing teachers, different numbers of students in each grade, changing course requirements and student course selections make it a complicated process.

This year, with the fear of school closures, there was concern when parents heard about layoff notices and the possible reduction of courses, especially at Kwalikum Secondary School (KSS) which was identified for possible closure.

Hearing that KSS had laid off their metalwork teacher and were amalgamating their auto and metal work courses, Lynette Kershaw with the Oceanside Communities for Quality Education, formed to find ways to keep schools open, contacted The News with concerns.

She brought up questions about safety, course quality and the remaining teacher’s workload.

“Decisions about resource allocation are made by school principals and there are plenty of competing interests,” Koop said. “Our priority is that we want to see the best possible result for students.”

He added that all teacher assignments are done according to the terms of their collective agreements and that safety is a consideration.

Koop said that despite the similar number of intent to layoff notices and new postings, they don’t know how many teachers may not get assignments for September yet. Many of the postings may also be for less than full-time positions.

Jill McCaffery, president of the Mount Arrowsmith Teacher’s Association points out the Board of Education planned for a reduction of seven full-time equivalent teacher positions for the 2011/12 school year.

She pointed out the 90 notices “causes a lot of uncertainty among those teachers, it is disruptive, it’s never great.”

She said last year all but a couple teachers did end up back in the schools.

Teachers who do not have assignments by July 1 will be put on the “recall list” with first priority for other postings as they come up over the summer.


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