There is a provincial teaching shortage over the past few years especially in rural and northern districts.
Northern districts employed just over 200 non-certified – Letter of Permission (LOP) teachers last year to staff classrooms and substitute lists.
Assistant Superintendent for School District 91, Mike Skinner said, “For the 2023-24 school year, we have the need for approximately 50 teachers across all our communities. In Burns Lake, we have advertised 16 positions to date, with eight teachers being hired. Overall, we have hired 24 new teachers in SD91 since May and we will require several LOPs again this year to ensure all schools are staffed. In SD91, we had 22 LOP teachers to support classrooms and schools. LOP candidates can only work on one year contracts.”
School District 91 (SD91) has been part of a Northern pilot working group with the Ministry of Education and Child Care and several other districts.
Skinner said, “We have secured incentives for Fort St. James and two schools in Burns Lake based on this working group and other provincial committees.”
These hiring incentives in Burns Lake are for schools that have experienced shortages. SD91 secured incentives for three positions at Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) and one position at William Konkin Elementary (WKE). The three LDSS positions will receive $5000 incentives and the WKE position will receive a $10,000 incentive.
Karie Jean Evans, WKE principal, announced of Facebook, “Thanks to an emergency grant from the B.C. Government, if you come teach Grade 4/5 at WKE next year, SD91 will pay a $10,000 signing incentive and moving expenses [amount is dependent on where you move from].”
School District 91 has also offered moving reimbursements for many years for example a teacher from eastern Canada could receive up to $3500.
Skinner said, “Currently we have teacher staffing at Grassy Plains, Francois Lake and Decker Lake schools. We have needs in Granisle and for full time District Teachers on call in Burns Lake and the other communities.”
All partner groups are working with the ministry on long-term strategies for training more teachers and other incentives to help attract staff to rural B.C.