NORTH BAY, Ont. – The union representing 185 custodial, 173 secretarial and clerical and technical staff at the Near North District School Board is urging parents and community members to contact school trustees and tell them to reverse proposed cuts that will undermine safety and the quality of education in schools throughout the Nipissing and Parry Sound districts.
“Local school trustees need to stop attacking frontline workers and improve the safety and quality of education,” said CUPE national representative Monique Drapeau, reacting to cuts outlined in the board’s proposed budget. If the board’s budget is approved in its current form, many schools will lose full-time secretaries and custodians.
“Parents and residents need to pay attention to what school board trustees are doing to our community,” said Drapeau, noting that Board chair Alan Bottomley, and trustees Linda-Anne Thompson and Linda Williams voted against deferring the vote on the contentious school board budget yesterday. “We also need to support and congratulate trustees who refused to approve the budget in its current form and encourage them to defeat it unless the cuts are removed.” Trustees Jay Aspin, Randy Sheppard, David Thompson, Eunice Saari, Colleen Goupil and Kathy Hewitt all voted to defer the vote to allow time to consider other budget options.
“Cutting secretaries and creating a massive chain-bumping migration, while challenging the qualifications of secretaries who move from elementary to secondary schools, is creating chaos in our schools and demoralizing our workforce,” said Drapeau. “Instead of attacking frontline staff and essential school services, trustees should be challenging the provincial government and local MPP Monique Smith to fix the funding formula and secure adequate funding for our communities.”
CUPE is filing grievances on behalf of affected members and encouraging community members to get involved and stop the cuts.
“Cutting secretarial and custodial hours in our schools will at times create unsafe situations where no adults will be available to help and protect students, while teachers are busy teaching,” added Drapeau. “We need to challenge our elected representatives to do better for our children and our communities.”
For further information, please contact:
Monique Drapeau, CUPE National Representative: 705-474-9765
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications: 416-292-3999