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Edmonton Unless action is taken now schools will deteriorate and the health and safety of students and staff will be put at risk in Edmonton Public Schools, says CUPE Local 474 President Doug Luellman.

Despite a 26 per cent climb in the funds for plant and operations since 1995, there are fewer full-time custodial positions with the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) than there were in 1993. Last year alone the custodial staff was reduced by over 14 full-time equivalent positions.

Custodial staff face growing pressure every day to keep up with the important responsibility to keep our schools clean and safe, said Luellman. Therefore we have put together an analysis of the spending patterns at EPSB and drawn some important conclusions, he said.

Luellman is recommending to the EPSB trustees that they create a centralized staffing formula for custodial staff, establish board-wide standards for cleanliness and maintenance and put an end to school based budgeting.

When you take a look at the overall budget it is clear that the money allocated to maintain healthy learning environments is being used elsewhere. There is no consistency in staffing or cleanliness from one school to the next, said Luellman. While plant and operation budgets have increased, the number of custodians has decreased. And, over the same time period the budget for management positions has increased by 70 per cent, he said.

It is clear that the money for custodial work needs to be allocated centrally so that the EPSB can assure all students, staff and parents that our schools are maintained to the highest standard, he said.

Luellman makes the annual budget presentation at 7:30 p.m. this evening, January 27 at the Centre for Education, One Kingsway Ave.


CUPE is Canada’s largest union with over half a million women and men who provide public services. In Alberta, CUPEs 26,000 members work in health care, municipalities, schools, colleges, universities, libraries, emergency medical services, social services and casinos. Visit our CUPE websites for more information www.cupe.ca and cupealberta.ab.ca.

For further information:
Doug Luellman, President CUPE 474 (780) 447- 5858 or (780) 446-5688 (cellular)