All classroom positions will be filled for the start of classes, said School District 91 assistant superintendent Mike Skinner. (Blair McBride photo)

All Burns Lake teacher spots filled, SD91 said

As the new academic year starts in just a few weeks, schools in Burns Lake are ready for the students and have filled all of their teacher positions.

“We have hired about 15 full time teachers to School District 91 since late May and will have all classroom positions filled by the start of school in the Burns Lake area,” as Mike Skinner, Assistant Superintendent of SD91 told Lakes District News.

“We have one science position just posted at Lakes District Secondary School because of a teacher leave request last week. We believe we will have a teacher for this job come September,” he added.

The staffing situation marks an improvement from one year ago, when SD91 had 10 vacant teaching positions, five of them in Burns Lake.

LOOK BACK: Teaching positions still vacant in Burns Lake

The recruitment problems were rooted in a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision that created a large number of teaching positions across British Columbia, Skinner said last year.

READ MORE: B.C. teachers celebrate top court ruling on class size

The staffing situation in other parts of SD91 still has problems.

The highest need is in Fraser Lake, where the district is trying to fill three to four full-time district teachers on call and a science specialist, Skinner said.

There are also vacancies for French immersion teachers in Vanderhoof and two district counselling positions.

“As with other districts, specialty positions such as math/science, counselling, tech ed (wood, metal, auto) and French language are very difficult to fill in B.C,” added the assistant superintendent.

Attracting and keeping teachers in northern B.C. is tough and SD91 has been making several efforts to turn things around.

“Our staff have attended many hiring fairs in B.C. and across Canada and we advertise on the Make a Future website,” Skinner said. “We have several partnerships with universities to host practicum students and the UBC Rural initiative each spring. We also emphasize our low cost of living and home ownership. We do offer moving allowances to new teachers, but cannot add extra incentives such as pay/benefits due to our collective agreement. Our starting salaries are already in the top two or three in BC and most positions are full time and continuing.”

Teacher staffing remains a problem across the province as well.

“There continue to be general shortages for sure,” said Rich Overgaard, spokesperson for the British Columbia Teachers Federation (BCTF).

“We have lots of people in the Interior teaching on ‘letters of permission.’ Those are people who don’t have a teaching certificate. That’s a problem in lots of districts.”

This year the province needs 1,500 new teachers, with more needed each year and almost 1,900 will be needed in 2028, the BCTF estimated in a March 2019 factsheet, citing government and education data.

Teacher shortages are made worse, the federation says, because salaries for new teachers in B.C. are the second-lowest in the country, after Quebec.

Blair McBride
Multimedia reporter
Send Blair an email
Like Lakes District News on Facebook

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

Just Posted

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in Smithers over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Young Burns Lake resident launches career

A young Burns Lake resident—very young—has launched his own book writing career.… Continue reading

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read