No immediate system reset for class sizes in Qualicum school district

Superintendent Rollie Koop talks about the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling

B.C.’s teachers, including those in School District 69 (Qualicum) will see the restoration of previously-stripped bargaining language in future negotiations, but a Supreme Court of Canada ruling to that effect earlier this month will not result in immediate changes to the current union contract, SD69 Superintendent Rollie Koop informed the board of trustees at its November meeting in Parksville.

“The court did direct the public administrator for BCPSEA (the B.C. Public Schools Employers’ Association) to reinstate working conditions into the collective agreement immediately,” Koop said in a summary to the board in its Nov. 22 meeting at the School Board Office.

“But there is no provision for an immediate system reset.”

The Supreme Court of Canada decision overturned a 2015 B.C. Supreme Court ruling and brought to an end a legal challenge that began in 2002, after the provincial government passed legislation that stripped the right of teachers to bargain provisions including class size and teaching specialists, among others.

In the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling, current BCTF president Glen Hansman claimed the government will likely be forced to spend hundreds of millions to hire hundreds of new teachers, but Koop said those decisions are well down the road.

“What we know is conversations with BCPSEA is a matter currently in the hands of provincial parties,” Koop told the board. “Significantly different local provisions and language will need to be considered.”

“But how and where those conversations take place is yet to be determined.”

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