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Most teachers in Prairie South are under the age of 50, report shows

Prairie South School Division has a larger cohort of younger teachers under age 50 than teachers over that age, a new report shows

Most teachers in Prairie South School Division (PSSD) are under the age of 50, while most support staff are over the age of 50, according to a new division report.

There are 104 teachers between the ages of 18 and 29; 133 teachers between 30 and 39; 159 teachers from ages 40 to 49; 105 teachers between the ages of 59 and 59, and; 10 teachers between 60 and 69.

It’s an interesting trend that most of the division’s teachers are between the ages of 40 and 49 since that information can help the human resources department plan for when this group possibly retires around the same time, Diana Welter, manager of HR, told board trustees during their Jan. 7 meeting while reviewing a 2018-19 HR accountability report.

Teachers are eligible to retire on the first day of any month following their 55th birthday provided they have at least one year of service, the report said. Teachers may retire earlier than age 55 if they have 30 or more years of service.

Meanwhile, there are 20 support staff between the ages of 18 and 29; 78 such employees between 30 and 39; 140 support staff between ages 40 and 49; 166 such staff from ages 50 to 59; 82 support staff from 60 to 69, and; 12 such staff between ages 70 and 79.

Staff composition

As of Sept. 30, 2018, PSSD had 905.46 total full-time equivalents (FTE) staff on its payroll. This included:

  • 429.05 FTE classroom teachers
  • 235.86 FTE other educational staff, such as psychologists, educational assistants, speech-language pathologists
  • 114.94 FTE transportation employees
  • 62.69 FTE plant operations and maintenance staff
  • 38.94 FTE principals and vice-principals
  • 18.98 FTE administrative and financial staff
  • 5 FTE division administrators, specifically, the director of education and education superintendents

Salaries and Benefits

The amount of salaries and benefits increased slightly during the 2018-19 school year from the 2017-18 year, according to the HR report.

Total expenses for salaries and benefits last school year totalled $65.02 million, which accounted for 74.6 per cent of all division expenses. Two years ago, those expenses were $64.29 million, which represented 72.1 per cent of all PSSD expenses. This means salaries and benefits increased by $729,519 during that time.

Recruitment and retention

Last year, 14 teachers and 15 support staff retired, for a total of 29 retirements. Meanwhile, 18 teachers and 12 support staff resigned, for 30 overall resignations. In comparison, 53 employees retired and 30 resigned during the 2017-18 year.

“It’s quite a significant decrease (in retirements) from the previous year,” said Welter.

Tuition reimbursement

Employees who upgrade their qualifications are eligible to apply for tuition and book reimbursement each year. Their applications are assessed in accordance with the respective collective bargaining agreement.

During the previous school year, PSSD reimbursed 42 teachers for $96,165 for taking 100 courses, while it reimbursed 18 support staff for $16,991 for taking 34 courses.

Employee health and safety

In 2019, the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) accepted 30 claims from PSSD staff, which resulted in 668 time-loss days for about $147,000 in compensation and medical WCB costs.

In comparison, 30 WCB claims were accepted in 2018 that resulted in 1,631 time-loss days for $239,460 in compensation and medical WCB costs.

Attendance management

PSSD believes when its employees are healthy and at work, students and the division benefit, the report said. The division implemented an attendance support program six years ago that uses a formula that measures absenteeism for illness and medical leaves.

“The theory is that short, frequent and unplanned absences are more disruptive than longer absences,” added the report.

Anyone with a teacher’s certificate in PSSD took off an average of 21.0 days from work during the 2018-19 school year, compared to 17.8 days two years ago and 18.0 days three years ago.

Classroom teachers, specifically, took off an average of 17.4 days from work during the last school year, including an average of 6.4 days for sick leave.

Total absences

Digging into the numbers, 429.05 FTE classroom teachers taking an average of 6.4 days of sick leave equals 2,745.92 total days taken for sick leave during the 2018-19 school year.  

Meanwhile, classroom teachers took 1,328 days of absence for initiatives such as professional development, while 2,658 days of absence were taken for issues such as bereavement, noon-hour/extracurricular supervision, or class prep time.

Labour relations

Prairie South School Division issued six letters of clarification/verbal warnings — one to teachers and five to support staff — during the 2018-19 school year. It issued three letters of discipline to support staff; one suspension to support staff; one mutual termination/removal of duties notice to a teacher; and one involuntary termination letter to a teacher and support worker.

Human rights complaints  

Two employees filed complaints with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in 2018-19 alleging that they had reasonable grounds to believe PSSD violated section 16 of the employment code based on the basis of their disability, said Welter.

“In both cases, the chief commissioner dismissed the complaints,” she added.

Learning support services

Besides teachers and support staff, PSSD also employs health-related employees, such as psychologists (four FTEs), speech-language pathologists (six FTEs), support workers (one FTE), and consultants for advocacy and behaviour, student support, learning, and career development (12.1 FTEs).

The report indicates that, during the 2018-19 school year, the psychologists had referrals/caseload numbers of 111, compared to 120 the year before. Also, speech-language pathologists had referrals/caseload numbers of 236 last year, compared to 217 two years ago.

The next PSSD board meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 4.

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