(Moncton) – The union representing 3,300 school board workers in New Brunswick says Education Minister Kelly Lamrock wants to cut school library funding by a whopping 50%. He also wants to cut the highly successful school intervention program by the same amount.
CUPE Local 2745 President Sandy Harding says, “This is a minister who, when in opposition, tabled a ‘Right to Read Act’ and made quite the fuss about it. These cuts amount to an abandoning of his commitment to literacy.”
Harding says there are 150 Library Assistants, or LA’s, in the system to service 355 schools. Some schools don’t have any LA’s and many of them have to work at four and five different schools.
“CUPE has been lobbying for two years to increase funding for school libraries. This government is now heading in the opposite direction,” she says.
Harding says the school intervention program - created in 1999 to help students with behavioural problems - had been increasing steadily to the point where there were positions in every school.
Says Harding, “It has taken the union from March 17 until yesterday (April 8) to find out the actual extent of the cuts. There was a one line statement in the provincial budget about cuts with no dollar figure attached to it.”
“One of the first things Kelly Lamrock did when he became minister of education was issue a report entitled “When Kids Come First”. Our question to the minister is, how does cutting school library staff in half put kids first?”
Local 2745 represents District Office Administrative Support Staff, School Administrative Assistants, Teaching Assistants, Library Assistants, Student/Bus Attendants and school intervention program staff.