News release from Mike Lombardi, Trustee, Vancouver Board of Education:
Vancouver, B.C. – (January 19, 2010) – Eight hundred teachers in the Vancouver school district will be receiving letters today advising them of possible layoffs and requesting they update their qualifications on file with the Vancouver School Board.
The letter is not a layoff notice – it is the beginning of the process to prepare for possible layoffs. The letters are being issued in accordance with the teachers’ collective agreement, which requires that notices of possible layoffs be issued by February 15 if the district is contemplating layoffs for the following school year.
Additionally, the collective agreement and arbitration award language requires the school district to gather and update teacher qualifications in advance of contemplated layoffs. The letters are being issued now because Human Resources requires time to collect, review and update the qualifications of teachers who received the letters.
Notices of potential layoffs are being given to all teachers with seniority levels of approximately five or fewer years of service. The letter has been jointly signed by the school district and presidents of the district’s two teachers’ associations – Vancouver Elementary Teachers Association and Vancouver Secondary Teachers Association.
Vancouver School Board finance staff is currently forecasting an operating budget shortfall of $17.5 to $36.3 million for 2010-11, depending on provincial government funding decisions.
“The district has increased costs coming due to decisions made at the provincial level,” says Vancouver Board Chair Patti Bacchus. “We believe the provincial government has an obligation to fund those costs to ensure we are able to provide adequate staffing and resource levels to meet the needs of our students. We’ve already had to cut over $47 million in accumulated annual spending since the beginning of 2002/03 and further reductions will make it increasingly difficult to meet the learning needs of our students.”
No decision has been made about layoffs at this time. If teachers are to be laid off, notices will be issued the first week of May when school-by-school staff allocations for the 2010-11 school year are confirmed.
The last time the school district had to layoff teachers was in May 2004 for the 2004-05 school year.
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For more information, contact:
Patti Bacchus, Board Chair – 604-250-1130 604-250-1130
David Weir, VSB communications manager – 604-713-5074