With enrollment growing, School District #43 was able to bring back 24 teachers who were laid off earlier this year.
Citing financial pressures ranging from rising inflation to falling enrollment, the district planned to cut 24 teaching positions ahead of the 2022/23 school year.
However, the district’s financial position was strong enough to bring those teachers back, explained school district assistant director of communications Ken Hoff.
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“All our teachers that were subject to lay off at the end of the last school year have been recalled and we are actively hiring new teachers right now,” Hoff wrote in an email to the Dispatch.
Hoff did not respond to a query regarding the number of teachers being hired by press time.
The reversal in layoffs is partially attributable to getting more students in the classroom, according to school board chair Michael Thomas.
“I’m pleased to report that we added a number of teaching positions in September due to enrollment growth,” Thomas wrote in an email to the Dispatch.
Discussing district budget this spring, Thomas explained the board’s preference to issue layoffs before the school year begins.
“It is much easier to add staffing in as the year goes on,” he said. “Mid-year reductions are tremendously disruptive to the whole education system and to the students.”
Prior to the pandemic, the district’s International education program funded 62 staff positions.
Speaking to the Tri-City News, International Education principal Geoff Johnston described a rebound in the district’s number of international students.
While the program is “slightly under pre-pandemic levels,” the department is expecting a “robust” program this summer, Johnston said.
Besides inflation and supply chain challenges, the budget was also exacerbated by the challenges of dealing with the possibility of more students being homeschooled or enrolling in online learning, as well as paying for the district’s $25 million contribution to Burke Mountain Middle/Secondary School.
The district also cut 12 support staff including 10 temporary caretakers funded by a one-time provincial funding grant.