KTTA raising concern over class size and composition

By Jessica Lepp
February 26, 2016 - 2:47pm Updated: February 26, 2016 - 5:29pm

KAMLOOPS — The Kamloops Thompson Teachers Association is again up in arms over class size and composition within School District 73.

Class size and composition has been a longstanding concern of teachers across the province and it's back at the forefront following a report by the Kamloops Thompson School Board and the Education Ministry.

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Jessica Lepp

“It's something we've been trying to seek in bargaining for the last 4 or 5 rounds. The language was taken away from us in 2002 subject to a court challenge. Really it's about supporting vulnerable students,” says KTTA President David Komljenovic.

Teachers are finding there is an ever increasing number of classes with more than four students with special needs.

“They're getting less support from teachers in our view. That is one measure in saying there is less support in the system.

The Kamloops Thompson School Board agrees the district is seeing an increase but believes teacher support is proportional.

Superintendent of S.D.73 Karl deBruijn says, “we don't just put them in the classroom and not provide support. We have over 100 professional staff dedicated to supporting students with special needs.”

The Superintendent says, “if a student is identified as learning disabled, he may be a top physical education student, but he may still have challenges for other subject areas.”

Komljenovic says, “teachers are saying this is a large stresser for them as they're not being able to meet the needs of the students. We notice that there are a larger number of students that have these needs. We know it takes investment, we also know district isn't solely responsible, bu that it's coming from Provincial Government. We negotiated an education fund of 80 million dollars but the provincial budget doesn't address one dime of that.”

KTTA is asking the School Board to look at their surplus budget to support the needs and to help put pressure on the Provincial Government.

“If they're advocating for more support, I do too. I think we could use more support. We'll put it to good use. But do I think it's an unattainable situation? Absolutely not.

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