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June 5, 2009

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CUPE sounds alarm on school budget cuts

NEW WESTMINSTER- CUPE 409 in the New Westminster School district is sounding the alarm about proposed budget cuts for the coming year.

Local president Marcel Marsolais says that close to one-third of his 350 members have received lay-off notices. “Our message is simple. These staff cuts will hurt students. The Board of Education needs to roll up its sleeves, go back to the drawing board and present a budget that will protect the services our schools, students, teachers and families count on,” says Marsolais.

Marsolais says the Board seems to be rushing to make cuts in order to balance its budget, despite the fact that there are still many pieces of information missing. “The Board is proposing major staffing cuts and restructuring of positions. This will create chaos both in the schools and for many loyal, hardworking employees of the district.”

That’s why CUPE 409 is encouraging the community to come out to the New Westminster Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, June 9 and send a strong message that proposed service and staff reductions, and the manner in which cuts were initiated, are unacceptable and must be reversed.

CUPE is concerned that staff cuts and reductions in key services for parents and students will have a negative impact on school safety and cleanliness, and stability for students needing special support.

In terms of proposed reductions in daytime custodian services, CUPE says that from cleaning school grounds and removing dangerous items to dealing with accidents, spills or special events during the day, custodians are an important part of keeping schools safe and clean and they are needed during the day.

Proposed cuts to education assistants, who provide services to students with special needs, aboriginal students and others, especially at a time when more students need these supports, will create chaos for teachers and students.

And plans to dramatically restructure many clerical jobs could mean that staff are less available when parents and students need them – in cases of emergency, administering first aid, taking phone calls, and consulting with teachers and parents.

CUPE 409 president Marcel Marsolais with buttons that send the message “Staff cuts hurt students”.

Marsolais says that New Westminster has been a responsive district that listens to the community and that it will be critical for the community to send a strong message to school trustees.

Attend the school board meeting Tuesday, June 9 at 7:30 pm

City Council Chambers, 511 Royal Ave., New Westminster

For more information contact CUPE 409 at 604.524.1908 or email [email protected]

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