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How three B.C. school districts are calculating a return to 2002 contract language

In announcing the government's appeal of the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF), Education Minister Peter Fassbender said it would cost taxpayers "upwards of $1-billion" to restore classrooms to the contract language that existed in 2002.

However, with 60 school districts, each with different needs, budget issues and contract language, the cost of such a restoration is a complex calculation. The BCTF says the province has lost close to 1,400 specialist positions.

School districts are now calculating the implications of the ruling; here is what some of them are saying:

Rafal Gerszak the The Globe and Mail

Vancouver School Board

The Vancouver School Board estimates it would need $47-million in additional funding to match the 2002-2003 service levels. This breaks down to $31.5-million in lost staffing, including 524 entry-level teachers, and $15.5-million in loss of supplies and services such as technology and building maintenance, according to the VSB. This estimate is based on the school board’s 2002-2003 base budget, which was adjusted to reflect a number of factors, including collective agreement increases and changes in student enrolment. (Pictured: Grade 12 students Stephen Keitlah, 17, left, and Gerald Angus, 17, talk outside Britannia Secondary School in Vancouver on Jan. 21, 2014.)
Rafal Gerszak for The Globe and Mail

Surrey Schools

Surrey is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Metro Vancouver area, with one-third of its residents under the age of 19. If pre-2002 contract language was restored now, the city says it would have 18 more teacher-librarians, 19 more counsellors, 51 more special-education teachers and 80 English-language learner teachers. (Pictured: Robyn Thiessen works with students Mehar Shergill, 10, left, and Kabir Sidhu, 10, at Green Timbers Elementary School in Surrey, B.C., on Jan. 09, 2014.)
Keith Anderson/Kamloops Daily News/The Canadian Press

Kamloops/Thompson (School District No. 73)

The Kamloops/Thompson school district is calculating what a restoration of the contract language would mean and is expected to have a better idea next week, said Superintendent Terry Sullivan. While he says some teacher-student ratios are better than 2002 levels, he expressed concern that a shift in ratios could create a ripple effect through schools (Pictured: A third of the students at Brocklehurst Secondary School in Kamloops, B.C., about 300 in total, walk out of school on Jan. 9, 2002, in protest to send a message to the government that they would like the teachers' job dispute to end.)

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