02/04/2014 01:16 EST | Updated 04/06/2014 05:59 EDT

B.C. to appeal ruling on teachers' bargaining rights

The provincial government revealed its next steps in the ongoing court battle with B.C. teachers over class size and composition on Tuesday. 

Last week, the B.C. Supreme Court ordered the province to pay $2 million in damages for stripping teachers of their collective bargaining rights in 2002 — including those having to do with class size and composition, and support for special needs students — and for failing to reinstate them when ordered by the court last April.

On Wednesday, Education Minister Peter Fassbender announced the province would be appealing that decision because it focuses more on the needs of the B.C. Teachers' Federation and less on the needs of students. It also limits the ability of the province to set education policy.

"It is the BCTF's job to defend its members' interests and has done so with passion and vigour. But it is government's responsibility to balance those interests against the best interests of students, their families, and the 4.6 million British Columbians who already invest nearly $5 billion into the K-12 education every year," said Fassbinder in a statement.

Fassbender also called the ruling "completely unaffordable" for taxpayers, but insisted the government's decision to appeal is about principle and not cost.

"It would create huge disruptions in our schools and, most importantly, it will prevent districts from providing the right mix of supports that our students actually need."

The BCTF is expected to make its own statement later today.