School District 91 expects to meet staffing needs 

The school district anticipated recruiting challenges earlier this year 

After anticipating recruiting challenges earlier this year, School District No. 91 (Nechako Lakes) administrators are now confident that they will meet staffing needs.

Earlier this year the B.C. government committed $330 million to settle a dispute with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, funding 2600 new teacher positions. School district administrators worried that the additional hiring across the province would put a further strain on attracting teachers to the region.

“As a rural and remote school district, hiring qualified staff has been difficult for many years,” Manu Madhok, assistant superintended for School District 91, explained earlier this year. “Both the [school] district and the Burns Lake and Nechako Teacher’s Union welcome the additional money to hire more teachers to work in our schools and classrooms, but both sides anticipate challenges recruiting teachers to fill these new positions.”

However, since the announcement, Madhok said only a “handful” of teachers have indicated that they will be moving or looking for employment outside the school district. And although School District 91 had 16 job openings listed on their website in late April, Madhok said most of the postings were for temporary positions to cover medical leaves.

“We are currently looking at our budget and staffing requirements for next year and at this time expect to be able to meet our needs for the 2017/18 school year,” said Madhok. “We have a few positions posted for next school year based on current information, and the human resources department is currently shortlisting and interviewing potential teaching candidates.”

“As we move through our annual staff planning, our needs may change based on staff changes and provincial funding increases,” he added.

Currently, School District 91 teachers are eligible for a ‘rural school district recruitment and retention bonus’ of $2418 per year. Madhok said there are discussions at the provincial level about further incentives for rural and remote schools.