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October 28, 2009

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Kids to visit city hall, public library on CUPE 23’s dime

Subsidized field trip to raise awareness about high cost of transit for educational outings

BURNABY— A Grade Five class from Stride Elementary School will enjoy a rare field trip tomorrow (Thursday) when they meet Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, visit the Metrotown Public Library and catch the movie “Where the Wild Things Are” — all thanks to buses paid for by the civic workers' union, CUPE 23.

“This is a tremendous opportunity, not only for kids to learn about city hall, but also for the provincial government and Translink to step forward and cover the transit cost for future educational field trips, which just can't be covered by declining school budgets, cuts to PAC grants and fund raising efforts,” says CUPE 23 president Rick Kotar.

“Transit costs are too high for our children’s educational trips on Translink. With increased fares coming in 2010 these trips are endangered,” adds Schula Leonard, a CUPE 23 member and children’s librarian at Metrotown.

“One outing for a class of 30 can cost more than a hundred dollars for Transit alone...and that is one zone. Unless parents pay for buses, these field trips just won’t happen. B .C. has the highest child poverty rate and the lowest minimum wage in Canada. Now, with the cuts to education, we’re really shrinking our children’s world.”

Leonard and other concerned library workers and parents have launched a campaign, “Trip Ed Transit Pass” that calls for affordable educational trips on public transit. The campaign advocates a yearly $10 reusable pass that would allow a class of children (K-12 in the Metro Region) with their adult supervisors to use public transit for educational trips, primarily in 'off peak' hours.

Thursday’s field trip to Burnaby City Hall will take place from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. Mayor Corrigan will speak to the class and be available for interviews. For more information, visit Trip Ed.

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