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TIMMINS, Ont. – Educational Assistants, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are warning parents and students that officials at the Northeastern Catholic District School Board have cut a third of Educational Assistant positions throughout the board, jeopardizing the quality of education in schools across Northeastern Ontario.

Students will not get the level of service they deserve, and it’s irresponsible for the board to make such drastic cuts without warning,” said Troy Calaiezzi, CUPE 4681 recording secretary. CUPE members found out the positions were being cut after 21 out of 69 education assistants were not recalled for the new school year that starts in two weeks.

Cutting a third of the Educational Assistants will have a devastating impact on the classroom and school environment,” said Calaiezzi. “Besides taking care of special needs students, our members provide schoolyard, lunchroom and bus supervision – with these cuts, teachers will have to sacrifice teaching and classroom instructional time to fill in the void. All students will suffer the consequences.”

CUPE is inviting parents to attend next Tuesday’s school board meeting at the English Catholic School Board, in New Liskeard, on August 29th, at 3:00 pm, to voice their concerns. CUPE members will also be in attendance to protest the cuts, and will be available for interviews with local media representatives.

Educational Assistants are essential to ensure a safe and positive education environment for our children,” said Calaiezzi. “With school board and municipal elections coming in November, it’s important to remind trustees that voters expect them to protect the quality of education – not undermine it.”

For further information, please contact:

Troy Calaiezzi, CUPE 4681 Recording Secretary, 705-360-3983

Denis Régimbald, CUPE National Representative, 705-264-1269

Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999