The BC government has confirmed the Prince George School District will receive $1.26 million of the original $50 million funding to hire more teachers across the province.

PG District Teachers Association (DTA) President Rich Giroday says the Northern Region has a hard time hiring people, and doesn’t quite know why.

“It’s very difficult to say why that is. There’s more and more negative experiences for teachers in the public education system because the way the government has treated teachers over a long period of time over the past 15-plus years.”

Giroday says it’s been a struggle to grab young people’s attention to jobs in the North.

He adds current instructors, when needed, have had to fill in for classes they may not be qualified to teach.

“We have had a hard time insuring that we have enough teachers teaching on-call in our school district. There’s always been a shortage now for a number of years, and there are days where a lot of the coverage has to be done internally by other teachers trying to fill in wherever they can.”

The DTA believes the government should consider providing more benefits to teachers who are willing to move to rural areas.

Giroday says this would encourage younger professionals to consider starting their career where the jobs are vacant away from the ‘Big city.’

“They’re going to have to do something. We have this opportunity to bring back the supports that our students need and we’re hopeful that the government will do that. Those discussions are taking place at the provincial level right now between the BCTF, the government, and the Ministry of Education.”

The government funding is expected to hire more than 1,100 teachers across BC; in Prince George, that could potentially mean nearly 30 more instructors in September.