School District 57 Trustees passed their 2017-18 budget at last nights regular board meeting. In it are provisions for hiring more teachers and support staff. Now, it’s just a matter of attracting great teachers to the region.
“Our best incentive is we are a great place to work and we have wonderful schools and wonderful people in SD57,” says Superintendent of School District 57, Marilyn Marquis-Forster, “but for those of us living in Prince George and our surrounding communities of Mackenzie, McBride and Valemount, sometimes recruitment, advertising and incentives are necessary.”
Since 1991, the District has had provisions in place for helping with moving expenses. However, with the current vacancy in the province, there is an additional source of funding through the government.” The Rural and Remote Workforce Sustainability Fund, which means that we have up to $35,000 that we can use in 2017-18 to assist with relocation expenses.”
“I think that’s a small pot of money. They are certainly need a lot more than that, and certainly because everybody is in the same situation,” says Richard Giroday, President of the Prince George Teachers’ Association. “From a provincial perspective, which I think is going to be a major part of recruiting teachers into the north, the actual government– the Ministry of Education– is going to have to have some kind of a plan in place to encourage teachers to work in the north.”
Giroday commends the District for incentives taken at a local level. ” The District working hard at that level. One of them was when you come to a new District, you have to have a doctor. So where do I get a doctor? What doctors are even taking patients at this time? For instance another one is you are coming to a new District, where am I going to live? If you are a single person teaching for the first time where would you find a place to live?…There’s lots of little things like that we can do. I know that the District is working with the City of Prince George to try to arrange a mechanism so people can feel really solid when they come to our community.”
The District is currently in the posting process. It will look at internal transfers first, and by the end of June, Marquis-Forster says they will have a better idea of what positions still need to be filled. She adds they have hired a local film development group to do a promotional video that will be used across the country. Marquis-Forster adds there has been a significant amount of applicants, and they have already signed a few people from the East Coast to specialty positions. “The whole community can help. If you have someone move into your neighbourhood from out of the Prince George greater region, we can all show what a great community we are by welcoming and helping out.”