VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It is ‘back-to-school’ this week, but does that mean back to normal in your kid’s classroom?

After last school year’s job action and then back to work legislation, BC Teachers’ Federation President Susan Lambert says it can’t be back to business as usual in our schools.

“Of course it can’t! You have to look at the reasons for last year and those reasons continue this year — a culmination of years of systemic under-funding of the public education system,” she says.

“Classes are too large, there are fewer supports for children who need them and teachers are stretched beyond the breaking point trying to provide individual services for kids. That will continue this year. We are facing another $100 million shortfall,” Lambert explains.

She says teachers are loath to do it, but many may feel pushed to cut extracurricular activities again this year.

But as kids get used to their back-to-school routine, many parents are hopeful it will be a smooth start.

“September is an optimistic time. Let’s hope that carries through,” says Terry Berting, President of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils.

“This year let’s go in with a re-energized focus to get reconnected with the school. Learn what you can about the system, get to know your teachers, get to know your principals and just be part of it — parents are an important part of the system. For the kids to really benefit, all partner groups need to be working at full capacity.”

Berting says parents typically want to be respectful of teachers and their workspace but the school system is welcoming of parent involvement, and the best place to start that is at home by showing interest in their child’s education.