Teachers’ union still concerned, although number of oversized classes shrinks

There are over 75 per cent fewer classes over the 30-student limit in the Comox Valley this year.

There are over 75 per cent fewer classes over the 30-student limit in the Comox Valley this year — but the Comox District Teachers’ Association (CDTA) is still concerned.

“It was our intention this year to have no class sizes over 30 — anywhere,” School District 71 superintendent Sherry Elwood, told Board of Education trustees at Tuesday’s meeting. “We just had a bit of a cohort glitch at one of our schools regarding French immersion secondary cohorts, and we’re in a place where the 15 actual classes that are over 30 are all at one school — they are at Mark Isfeld.”

She added a number of new Grade 8 and 9 students came to the school’s French immersion program at the last minute. Thirteen classes have 31 students and two have 32.

According to Bill 22, kindergarten classes cannot exceed 22 students and Grades 1 to 3 cannot exceed 24 students.

Grades 4 to 12 can exceed 30 students with teacher consent, and that teacher will receive compensation if they let the district know what kind of compensation they want. Compensation can be: an increase in pay, additional time, additional professional development funding or a request for specialized equipment or learning resources.

No elementary classes were over 30 students.

CDTA president Steve Stanley told the Record teachers are pleased there are so few classes over 30 students this year; he wrote a couple of letters to the board last year noting 71 classes in the district with over 30 students.

However, he pointed out Bill 22 removed the limits on how many students with special needs there are per class and the requirement to report those numbers, which he said worries teachers.

His letter last year noted 35 classes over the limit in elementary school classes, and 240 classes over the limit in secondary schools.

He added the CDTA is gathering this information from each teacher in the district, which he said is time-consuming but should be compiled by mid-November.

He pointed out a large share of the Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) funding is going to educational assistants, but teachers have concerns around how well more educational assistants addresses having higher numbers of students with special needs in one classroom.

“Putting 30 kids in a class and 10 of them having special needs and putting another adult in the room may not be the best way to address the learning needs of all of those students,” said Stanley. “And that seems to be the case — lots of classes have large numbers of special-needs students in them and they’ve used that money to hire more educational assistants.”

Elwood also noted the majority of the LIF funding — $909,500 for the Comox Valley — has been distributed through the district.

She presented the spending plan for this school year and will send the plan to the Ministry of Education by the end of the month.

Districts are required to spend at least 12.5 per cent of the funding on educational support staff.

Elwood noted there’s never enough money to meet all the requests, but district staff assessed all of them and did their best to distribute the money fairly.

“We tried to take a dollar and stretch it to make it about $1.60,” she said. “When you’re given $2 million worth of requests and you have $900,000, you can’t meet all the needs but we’ve done what we feel — after hours and hours of consultation and hours and hours of work — we’ve done our best to spread it as equitably and evenly as we can.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Town of Comox council (from left) Alex Bissinger, Ken Grant, Nicole Minions, Mayor Russ Arnott, Stephanie McGowan, Maureen Swift and Pat McKenna. Photo by Kim Stallknecht
Comox council calls on B.C. to defer old-growth logging, decriminalize illicit drugs

The motion is similar to a resolution passed by Courtenay council

A Hyundai Tucson caught fire around 11 a.m. Tuesday at 17th and Willemar. The occupants were not hurt. Scott Stanfield photo
Car catches fire in Courtenay

The occupants of a Hyundai Tucson were not injured when their car… Continue reading

A mother duck leads her brood of ducklings past some benches in the courtyard at Mark R Isfeld School in Courtenay. Photo by Kailena Krutzmann
Ducklings bring joy to students at Courtenay school

Brood of duckings in the courtyard at Mark R Isfeld School

The current location of Comox Valley Search and Rescue on Moray Avenue in Courtenay. Google Maps photo
Comox Valley Search and Rescue aiming to purchase a roof for their rescuers

Their goal is to raise between $1.2 and $1.5 million, approximately the purchase price of a facility

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

Two-year-old Kashius Weme rides at the Steve Smith Memorial Bike Park in Nanaimo on Tuesday, May 11. The youngster’s precocious bike-riding ability is already attracting cycle sponsors. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
2-year-old bike rider on Vancouver Island already attracting cycle sponsors

Nanaimo’s Kashius Weme has a knack for extreme cycle sports

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Most Read