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BURNABY School District 41s board of trustees can expect dozens of angry school board workers at their meeting tomorrow night where they will hear loud protests about CUPE jobs being slashed.

Up to 100 jobs are threatened and the workers, members of CUPE Local 379, fear the cuts would destroy key links between schools and the ethnic, troubled youth and special needs communities.

Burnaby residents have counted on CUPE members to maintain a bridge with these communities through multicultural liaison workers, youth and child care workers and speech pathologists.

Now, through a virtually secret budgeting process, the board has decided that these services are dispensable, said CUPE Local 379 president Terry Allen. The board also wants to slice almost 50 teaching assistants, nine science lab assistants and 12 library workers, Allen added. Who will do the daily work of these people?

Allen will raise that and several other questions about the proposed cuts at the board meeting. For example, why is the board basing the cuts on a reduction in student enrolment that is double what the estimates show? Where is the $1 million in federal government grants? Why is there so much money in the capital project budget? These are monies that could be used to protect the services provided by CUPE members.

Allen will also ask why the board does not file a deficit budget and put the new B.C. government on notice that it needs to fully fund education.

Were tired of fighting the fights for this community that the board should be fighting, Allen said. We fought to save the dental clinic and the crossing guard program. When will this board start to fight for the services that Burnaby residents expect and demand?


Contact: Terry Allen, CUPE Local 379 President, (604) 291-7800 or 268-0207; Bill Harper, CUPE National Representative, (604) 341-4869.