Mission Secondary is getting five more portables this year. / File Photo

Mission hires 45 new teachers so far

Eight portables, costing close to $1 million, also purchased to create more classrooms

It’s been a busy time for Angus Wilson. The superintendent for Mission Public Schools has already filled about 45 new teaching positions as well as renewing nine TTOC (Teachers Teaching On Call) positions, and his work isn’t over yet.

Wilson still needs to hire a number of new TTOCs.

“We are currently short eight hires for those, mostly in student services positions,” said Wilson.

Mission Public Schools, like all B.C. school districts, is working to implement new staff levels determined by an agreement reached with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation before the May election.

The B.C. Liberal government signed a deal in March providing $330 million to fund 2,600 new teacher positions, to comply with a November 2016 Supreme Court of Canada ruling that ended a 15-year court battle over contract language governing class size and special needs support ratios.

The Ministry of Education allotted Mission an extra $4.9 million.

“Now, not all of this money goes to hiring teachers. Part of it is for administrative functions and so on,” explained Wilson.

While the majority of hiring is complete, Wilson said there was another issue that had to be solved – space.

“We have spent time, expense and energy with support staff getting old, mothballed classrooms ready. We’ve had to move some of our renters out of our space,” he said.

The school district also spent close to $1 million to purchase eight portables. Five portables are located at Mission Secondary while the remaining three are going to elementary schools.

“That’s making extra space that didn’t exist before.”

Wilson added that while all of the portables will be on site by Sept. 5 (the first day of school) they won’t all be ready.

“So there will be some cases where there will have to be a bit of a delay getting into those classes.”

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