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TORONTO – Drastic cuts to school support staff, recommended to the Ontario government in the Drummond Report, will jeopardize student achievement and threaten student safety, says Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario.

These are radical reductions that will affect every area of school operations and student learning,” said Hahn. “Cutting more than 10,000 jobs will mean special needs students won’t have access to educational assistants and schools won’t receive the maintenance and cleaning needed to keep them safe and to keep our children healthy. The cuts will reduce school supports for children in crisis, cut access to school libraries, mean less supervision to prevent bullying and decrease many important security initiatives created to protect students.”

The report by the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, headed by former TD Bank Chief Economist Don Drummond, calls for massive cuts to public spending, up to 16.2 per cent for every person in the province. The report states, “The government will have to cut program spending more deeply on a real per capita basis, and over a much longer period of time, than the Harris government did in the 1990s.”

The Harris cuts to education in the 1990s caused chaos in our schools,” said Terri Preston, a school board instructor from Toronto and chair of CUPE’s Ontario School Board Coordinating Committee. “It seems like Don Drummond is recommending going back to those days of flawed funding formulas that didn’t recognize the important supports students receive from the entire school staff community. The investments made to improve education since 2003 have paid off, as all measures of student achievement show.”

The Drummond report also calls for the cancelation of the province’s full-day kindergarten program, or failing that, the elimination of Early Childhood Educators from the program.

Recommendations like the elimination of Early Childhood Educators from the full-day kindergarten program make no sense at all. ECEs were brought into Kindergarten classrooms because of their specialized training in educating children through play-based learning,” said Preston. “Instilling in children the joy of learning at an early age is an investment Ontario must continue to make.”

For more information, please contact:

Craig Saunders, CUPE Communications, 416-576-7316