VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – About a month before school starts up again, the BC Teachers Federation has won a legal fight over class sizes.

The BC Court of Appeal is setting aside an arbitrator’s decision on something known as the rule of 33.

The BC Teachers’ Federation challenged the arbitrator’s ruling that made it okay for schools to go above class size limits in certain cases if the principal and superintendent say the classes are still educationally sound.

“[The arbitrator] has no authority respecting the School Act other than to interpret it,” says Honourable Madam Justice Nicole Garson.  “While the parties requested him to provide guiding principles, this did not give [the arbitrator] the authority to amend the rules created by the statute by enhancing the already considerable leeway given to administrators.”
In addition to that, the panel of three judges also said the arbitrator was wrong to make it the teacher’s responsibility to prove a class has too many students in it.

BCTF President Susan Lambert is pleased with the court ruling, but she doesn’t think it will fix anything.

“The problem is underfunding,” Lambert says.  “We’re going into next year with a $100 million shortfall and there will be, again, thousands of classrooms across the province that will violate the legislative limits and superintendents and principals will be forced to say the classes are educationally sound.”
Calls to the BC Public School Employers Association were not returned.