September 4, 2014 11:02 pm

BC teacher’s dispute increases private school enrollment

Class is in session at independent schools around the province and due to mounting frustrations over the never-ending teachers’ dispute, it has some parents looking at the expensive albeit more reliable option.

According to the Federation of Independent School Association (FISA), which represents 300 private schools in B.C., enrollment is up almost five per cent compared to the one to two per cent in a typical year.

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“It tells us clearly that the protracted strike in the public sector is having an impact and I believe parents are frustrated,”  FISA executive director Peter Froese told Global News.

READ MORE: Education support workers caught in the middle of labour strike

Froese says every time the public system suffers a labour dispute, the number of children registered in the private system spikes. The result is many of the independent schools are currently at capacity.

“So even if a parent wants to transfer their child, it would be difficult to do so,” Froese says.

For independent schools like the Vancouver’s Family Montessori School, their kindergarten spots are filled, but that hasn’t stopped parents from inquiring even though the deadline to enter closed months ago.

As Jennifer Heath with the Family Montessori School says, typically their classes are set by February or March of the previous year.

“We’ve had calls all through August and into September and emails continue to come in,” Heath says.

READ MORE: Daycare and camp options during the teacher’s strike

So far students in public schools have already missed three days of classes this year. And since the labour negotiations stalled on the weekend, yesterday the province has asked teachers to stop picketing while negotiations continue. The province’s proposal was rejected by the teachers’ union.

~ with files from Tanya Beja

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