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August 28, 2009

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More instability for education with new funding cuts

BURNABY-CUPE BC is calling on government to reverse school district funding cuts announced yesterday, just as students and staff are preparing to begin the school year.

In a letter to school districts Deputy Education Minister Jim Gorman says that the annual facility grant to districts worth $110 million is being cancelled.

“This is a double whammy for district staff and boards of education who have been working diligently to deal with the budget that they were asked to work within just a few months ago,” says CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill. “Throwing this curveball into the mix is irresponsible and sends a message that you can’t trust this government to stand by its commitments or to really put a priority on students and education.”

“Districts count on these grants to carry out necessary maintenance on buildings and facilities. Districts must have the ability to make plans and to carry out those plans. I believe that in fact many districts have already ‘spent’ the funds and entered into contracts. We could see lawsuits and in fact the payment of penalties for work that never happens,” says O’Neill.

“We know that government continues to announce funding for much-needed seismic upgrading. CUPE is very concerned that basic maintenance that needs to be done in support of this upgrading will be threatened with this cut.”

“We will be working with members, parents, trustees and others to seek a reversal of this unfair and unplanned cut,” says O’Neill.

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