Class size no longer capped

Under Bill 22, teachers will be compensated for classes that have more than 30 students

David Green

David Green

The B.C. Liberal government’s Bill 22 could save the Langley School District hundreds of thousands of dollars, with a change of policy regarding class sizes. District-wide class size averages are no longer required under the new education bill, said acting superintendent Suzanne Hoffman.

At Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, she provided an overview of Bill 22 (the Education Improvement Act), which includes class size and compensation.

“Class size will be 30 and we will strive not to exceed that,” said Hoffman.

But for those classes that will have more than 30, the teacher will be compensated financially as well as with prep time, equipment and other options.

Before this bill was adopted, school districts were required to maintain a class size average.

“This was so hard to predict, with parts of Langley growing and others not.

“We had to put in teachers into schools at the last minute.

“The influx of a family of five coming into a school would affect the average and we would have to add a teacher,” said Hoffman.

Last year, the district had to add seven or eight teachers to get to the district’s required classroom average, said David Green, school district secretary-treasurer.

“That was a cost of between $630,000 to $720,000,” Green said.

Langley is expected to get $1.93 million from the government’s $30 million Learning Improvement Fund.

Much consultation has to go on with principals, teachers and the Langley Teachers Association to find out each school’s needs, said Hoffman.

Bill 22 has set aside money for classrooms with needs.

“Needs could be for special needs or it can be for ESL,” said Hoffman.

Consultation with schools will begin this spring and will take place again in the fall.