If not for the welcome back message Rob Greaves writes on the white board in his North Saanich Middle School classroom, the upside-down stools atop desks give the impression that school’s still out summer for the summer. (File)

Saanich school district finds teachers to staff new classrooms

Forty teachers hired to help district meet class size requirements

School District 63 (Saanich) is in the enviable position of having enough teachers to be able to meet the demand of additional classrooms this school year.

When classes resume in the district on Tuesday, Sept. 5, an additional 40 teachers will be working in schools from Saanich to the Saanich Peninsula. Superintendent Dave Eberwein says thanks to the hard work of their human resources department, they have been able to hire enough new staff to ensure the new classes have teachers.

Other school districts in the province has reported having trouble finding enough teachers to meet the demand this year.

The District is adding 15 new classrooms — including four portables — this year, after a Supreme Court of Canada decision that sides with the BC Teachers Federation over the Province of B.C. That decision mandated classroom sizes to be reset to 2002 levels and meant many school districts have been reconfiguring their facilities to accommodate additional classes.

RELATED: District 63 funded for six new teachers.

In the Saanich school district, Eberwein said there was an extensive teacher on call (ToC) list, from which they were able to draw.

“Saanich has that reputation as a bit of a destination district,” Eberwein added. “We do have a couple spaces to fill but otherwise all positions are filled.”

Ederwein said they based their hiring needs in the District on student enrolment estimates from the last school year. That’s more than 7,000 students and should that number grow as children return to class, he said there are still people on ToC list they can tap into.

He said student numbers should come in close to their estimates on the first day of school and then over the following few weeks, additional students could arrive. The District has until the end of September to collect total enrolment figures and submit them to the provincial education ministry for funding allocation.

“I don’t anticipate significant growth (in student numbers),” Eberwein said.

District schools, he continued, have healthy student populations, with the facilities in the south portion of the District having the largest group of students.

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