Six out of 10 classrooms in School District 52 are currently over capacity with teachers struggling to support students and needing to reduce learning resources, Prince Rupert District Teacher’s Union (PRDTU) stated, on Sept. 17.
According to the survey completed during the first two weeks of term, the review by the PRDTU reflects overcapacity levels as of Sept. 17.
“When SD 52 laid off nearly 10 per cent of its teachers, it reduced the level of supports that all students have access to,” Gabriel Bureau, president of the PRTDU said. “Clearly, the school district needs more, not fewer, teachers to bring class sizes to the levels required for meeting the educational needs of our students.”
More than 60 PRDTU members participated in the online survey, and 61.7 per cent of the classroom teachers who responded to the survey reported that their class is overcapacity in terms of class composition.
“A class exceeds the class composition limit when there are more than three students with a special education designation or when there are more than two students with a “low-incidence” special education designation,” the union said in a media statement.
“At the time of last year’s decision to cut instructional spending, managers said these cuts were required due to budget challenges. But there should be no layoffs of teachers when there are this many overcapacity classes,” Bureau said.
“Instructional spending should be the school district’s number one priority, especially when so many students are in classes that exceed the class composition limits for SD52,” the union president said.
However, Andrew Samoil, superintendent for SD 52, told The Northern View, in B.C. there is a process for constructing class size and composition.
“The school district follows the guidelines established by the Ministry of Education. During the month of September, we respond to the registration of new students, and we monitor and adjust classes, as required, to meet the Ministry guidelines,”.
Samoil said in October each year, in agreement with those guidelines, remedies such as additional teachers preparation time or additional in-class teacher support time (co-teacher) are provided.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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