This letter is in response to your recent front page story about the angry parents at Royston Elementary.
The term “district aggregate” was used and director of elementary Instruction Allan Douglas explained that this term requires that the average class size in all district elementary schools must be below specified levels.
What was not made clear in your article was that this notion of a district aggregate was imposed on school districts by the government after they stripped teachers’ contracts of class size language in 2002, an action that has since been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of B.C.
Shortly after passing Bills 27 and 28, which took away these clearly defined and agreed-upon class limits (which did not include looking at district averages), the government passed Bill 33. It established new provisions around school organization. Former Education Minister Christy Clark praised Bill 33 for giving more flexibility to schools but, as we can see in the case of Royston Elementary, this “flexibility” is completely missing when a district needs to reorganize to meet the aggregate.
Even though an individual school will build classes to best suit their students and the resources they have, this can all be tossed aside to meet the legislated limits.
Parents who are concerned about this kind of action and the impact it has on children should raise those concerns to local MLA Don McRae.
Editor’s note: Steve Stanley is the president of the Comox District Teachers’ Association, the local branch of the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.