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The president of CUPE Local 5050, Liz MacDonald, is questioning whether the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board (CBVRSB) has followed the criteria set out by the Minister of Education for its recently announced budget cuts.

Asks MacDonald, “Wasn’t there a bar set by the minister to ensure that services for students with special needs be protected? How can cutting more than 50 Teaching Assistant (TA) positions possibly meet this criteria?

“And why is the CBVRSB the only school board cutting so deeply into the TA positions,” she asks. “What Minister Ramona Jennex also said at the time was, ‘Boards must target at least a 15 per cent reduction in administration in 2011-12 and plan for a 50 per cent reduction in board consultants over the next three years,” says MacDonald. “Has this Board done that?” she asks.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Danny Cavanagh, meanwhile says, “The provincial government made it quite clear to the school boards across this province that they wanted any cuts to take place at the level of consultants and senior administration, the six-figure salaried positions that seem to have ballooned in our school board system over the last several years.”

“I think that parents, students and taxpayers within the CBVRSB should be seriously questioning the direction this board has decided to take. This isn’t fat they are cutting, it is right into the bone,” says Cavanagh.

MacDonald says the local plans to mount a fight-back campaign aimed at turning these cuts around, and will be doing that in conjunction with their national union and CUPE Nova Scotia.

“On behalf of all of the children in the school system, we are not going to accept these cuts without a fight. We have to protect our public education system and the vital services that all of the 1,400 members of Local 5050 provide,” she says.

For more information:

Danny Cavanagh    
CUPE NS President   
(902) 957-0822 (Cell)  

Liz MacDonald
President, Local 5050
(902) 574-1380 (Cell)

John McCracken
CUPE Atlantic Communications Representative
(902) 455-4180 (Office)