PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – School budget cuts announced by the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School Board will hurt special needs students, warns the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
“Forty-one Educational Assistants could be laid off later this month, following cuts to EA hours announced in the school board’s new budget, reducing assistance for special needs students in our schools,” said Terri Elliott, president of CUPE 1453. “School trustees and management need to stand up to the provincial government to stop chronic under-funding of vital school services in our communities.”
CUPE represents over 240 Educational Assistants who help and care for special needs students in 38 elementary and secondary schools and 260 members who work in office, clerical, technical, custodial and maintenance positions.
“The cuts represent over 17 per cent of the EA staff,” said Elliott. “It is very unlikely that come September, our schools will have 17 per cent fewer special needs students – the board will need to explain to parents how they will look after the needs of students with a dwindling number of EAs who are already stretched beyond capacity.”
“Our members are shocked, angry and will mobilize to take action to ensure that we elect MPPs in the upcoming provincial election that will make education a priority, and fund it appropriately,” said Elliott. “This school board must also take leadership and find ways to avoid cuts that hurt students and lower the quality of their education.” The union plans to meet with the board to discuss ways to avoid layoffs and maintain the quality of education services for special needs students in our communities.
For further information, please contact:
Terri Elliott, CUPE 1453 President, 705-931-1796
Derek Blackadder, CUPE National Representative, 705-930-3724 cell
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999