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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — With just under two weeks to go until the start of the school year, School District #60 does have several vacancies to fill, but the situation is nowhere near as dire as in the Metro Vancouver area.

Superintendent Dave Sloan said that the Peace River North School District currently has 11 full time positions it is looking to fill. Four of those vacancies are in Fort St. John, while at least another four are for rural positions. Sloan said that it is not uncommon for the school district to have this number of vacancies, but that this year is unique. The Supreme Court of Canada last year ruled in favour of the BC Teachers Federation in a case regarding class size and composition, meaning the province needed to hire hundreds more teachers to meet the criteria.

Sloan explained that with every school district looking to bolster ranks, that means that recruitment has been tougher than in years past. Sloan said that a number of teachers have left for jobs elsewhere in the province, though not dramatically more than in years past. “Sometimes its to get closer to family, sometimes its a matter of geography. We’ve traditionally faced that kind of movement,” said Sloan.

Despite the vacancies, Sloan added that School District #60 is not in nearly as dire a position as school districts in the Lower Mainland. “Districts like Abbotsford, Vancouver, and Surrey are looking for hundreds of teachers, whereas we’re looking for just under a dozen,” said Sloan. “Some of those factors are that its very expensive to live in the Lower Mainland.”

Sloan said that he feels positive that the school district will be able to have the vacancies filled by the Labour Day weekend.

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