630 teachers laid off in Coquitlam

Over a third of Coquitlam teachers were left jobless today.

The Coquitlam School District says layoff notices were issued to 630 teachers today.

However, the district says this process happens every year, at the same time of year, and for a variety of reasons.

“Last year, the school district 43 laid off 483 teachers last year and have yet to recall two teachers. Some teachers have chosen to resign and look at other opportunities,” said the district in a statement.

“It has taken until the beginning of this month to get most teachers some type of assignment. Some of these assignments are part time and some are short term. Although it has taken most of the year to accomplish we have not had any teachers actually lose their job this past year.”

Coquitlam Teachers Association President Charley King says while layoff notices are issued to teachers each year at this time, the 630 number is unprecedented.

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“We have had layoffs in this district since 2002 and it’s gotten progressively worse every year,” says King.

He says they have 2,200 teachers and 1,785 are full-time equivalent.

Many might be recalled when school resumes, but King is worried a lot of the recalled teachers will be underemployed as “on call” teachers and will only get jobs late in the school year.

“When they are cutting positions year after year this like, it creates absolute chaos in the system….When they cut positions, they cut a little bit out of each school. That results in a huge amount of movement in the system,” he says.

Back in April, the 2014/2015 budget presentation at Coquitlam Board of Education suggested proposed staff reduction at 163 FTE.

2014/2015 Budget Presentation

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The letter distributed to the teachers today states the total number of teachers employed with continuing contracts had to be reduced “for budgetary reasons” and that the layoff is effective June 30 of this year.

Submitted. A letter handed out to laid-off Coquitlam teachers

A Coquitlam teacher, who chose to remain anonymous, told Global News a lot of people are devastated.

“It is absolutely ridiculous. We go to university for six years. I have been with the district for seven years. That is 13 years, and I have no certainty in my job at all.”

The news of layoffs comes as the battle between B.C. teachers and the provincial government is heating up.

Late last month, the British Columbia Teachers Federation rolled out phase one of a strike plan, which included refusing to supervise students outside classrooms or communicating in writing with administrators.

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— with files from Ted Field

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