Richard and I met with K. McIntosh and J. Martin on Tuesday to hear the School District staffing plans for the 2014-2015 school year. Our Rep Assembly / Executive reviewed the information at our meeting on Wednesday.
The news is not good, but it is consistent with what has been happening over the past years in our district. The district believes it continues to face the reality of declining enrolment as well as the gradual elimination of the ‘funding protection’. The funding protection was a program designed to lessen the financial impact of declining enrolment on some school districts. I understand the goal was to have district budgets not decrease by more than 1% in any year, despite what may be a relatively larger decline in enrolment. This protection will gradually be eliminated over the next few years so the district budget is more reflective of actual enrolment.
( As a complete aside and non sequitur, this raises the broader topic of how per capita funding for school districts may work somewhat favorably for large urban districts, but not necessarily so well for geographically dispersed rural districts. But, that is a discussion for another time. Perhaps the next election!)
So, the district believes the following:
• student enrolment will decline by 41.31 FTE.
• projected teacher lay-off 3.78
(this includes two positions at the school board office announced at the last Board meeting. I mentioned these two cuts in a previous post.)
At this point two other teachers will receive a lay-off notice in mid May. This could change depending on the disposition of possible retirements and the continuation of some leaves.
At this point the district has also established an initial list of vacancies they believe will need to be filled during the staffing process. This list will change considerably between now and the end of the staffing process.
What is not included in this list are the Learning Improvement Fund (LIF) positions. Last year there were about 2.8 FTE positions created through the application of the LIF. The money is to be used over and above ‘regular’ staffing. The fund was established in Bill 22. (Yup, that would be the same Bill 22 that Judge Griffin found to have violated our charter rights) However, as far as anyone understands at this time the LIF continues to exist and is scheduled to double for the 2014-15 school year. This could result in an additional 6.0 FTE teaching positions in our district. The other uncertainty with the LIF is how provincial negotiations might or might not impact the fund.
It should also be noted that this is the first year we will be employing the new post and fill process we changed through local bargaining. The most significant change comes in the actual post and fill process. All established vacancies will be open to everyone in the district, including those on the recall list, and filled according to seniority and qualifications. All other provisions of the lay-off / recall process remain unchanged. That is, anyone who has been laid off will be able to bump, access severance or an opportunity to retrain.
We have posted the district 2014-15 staffing allocations on our website. This is the link: http://www.vinta-bctf.ca/publications/
Please bear in mind the document is still a draft document and is what the district uses for planning. The percentage allocated in a particular area does not necessarily mean that is what is reflected in school staff assignments. They are the allocations for each school.
So, after the news of staffing cuts, one might hope we could proceed to something a wee bit more positive. Well, one might hope but in this case one might be severely disappointed.
The latest reports from the table are at the following link:
The latest information from Peter Cameron, government negotiator, is to say if we begin stage 1 of our job action, then BCPSEA will bill teachers for the cost of benefits. His letter is posted on our website as well. http://www.vinta-bctf.ca/publications/ Our response is to go to the LRB for a ruling on this. It will likely be heard next week.
Between Fassbender’s latest missives, the complete lack of any progress at the bargaining table, and the move to try and have us pay for benefits, it seems fairly clear the government does not seem especially interested in achieving an agreement with teachers…
The BCTF AGM in March gave the responsibility for the timing of any job action to the BCTF Executive. Any decision will depend on what happens at the bargaining table. And, so it goes…..
And this, just in, (from Jack McDermot of the BCTF)
Thought you might appreciate this funny ad about Anti-Unionol, a revolutionary new anti-worker suppository.
Vancouver Island North Teachers’ Association