A surplus of teachers that existed at the end of the last school year should be hired back once final student enrolment numbers are tallied, the head of the local teachers’ union said Thursday.
But where those teachers end up won’t be known until enrolment is finalized at the end of the month, Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association president Jason Karpuk said Thursday.
“We still don’t know what the number of new positions is,” said Karpuk.
Karpuk anticipates an update will be provided during a meeting of the Kamloops-Thompson school board Monday night.
He said the number of jobs is tied to student enrolment, which is rising at the elementary level while the number of secondary students continues to decline.
Kamloops-Thompson School District Supt. Terry Sullivan said secondary enrolment is going to be low for the next several years.
He said the smallest intake of kindergarten students — 650 in number — is now in Grade 7 and will move into high school next September.
“That’s the lowest cohort of students we’ve ever had,” said Sullivan.
Kindergarten enrolment didn’t increase until this year, when about 1,000 students turned up for class. That leaves about six years of fewer students waiting to start high school, he said. This will change the way the school district staffs high school for years to come.
Karpuk would like to see more teachers hired so the number of students per class can be reduced and learning conditions improved in the classroom.
School board chair Denise Harper said staff worked hard to ensure there would be no layoffs.
“There’s a lot of hard work and planning that goes into it to make sure that, wherever possible, we can find positions for our teachers,” she said.