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May 1 2000, Burnaby The Canadian Union of Public Employees today challenged Education Minister Penny Priddy to call together parents, teachers, school support workers and trustees to resolve the controversy surrounding parent volunteers in the school system.

In a letter to Priddy, CUPE BC president Barry ONeill challenged Priddy to establish a province-wide policy that supports the use of parent volunteers without reducing service by trained, paid staff.

CUPE welcomes parent participation in the education system,” ONeill wrote, “CUPE does not support the use of volunteers to replace paid, trained staff”.

“We cannot believe you advocate the use of volunteers to eliminate paid staff, given the risk that poses of inconsistent support for our kids by parents who may lack the training and skills that school boards require in employees.”

ONeill said the province needs a policy based on three principles:

  • A commitment to ensure parents can volunteer to support our school system;

  • A commitment that volunteers will not be used to eliminate paid, trained staff or to violate collective agreements; and

  • A government commitment that parents who, for whatever reason, are unable to volunteer, can be assured their kids receive quality education through funding support for necessary staff according to minimum province-wide standards.

For more information:
Louise Leclair CUPE Communications Representative
(604) 291-1940

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