Caroline Robbins Community School. WikimediaSaskatoon’s community schools are facing staffing cuts, which will negatively impact some of the city’s most vulnerable, warns CUPE 8443.

“Community School Education Assistant III (EA) is a classification specifically designated to work within community schools to bridge the gap between students, their families and the broader community,” said Dene Nicholson, president, CUPE 8443. “By completely eliminating this position, Saskatoon Public Schools is cutting from the most vulnerable to balance their budget.”

The community school model was created to develop culturally affirming, community related curriculum, with a focus on ensuring the success of vulnerable students – especially Indigenous students.

“The EAs working in these schools work so hard to connect with students and their families, and to make sure they have everything they need to thrive,” added Nicholson. “They organize community events and fundraisers, pick up donations, make sure students have food, visit families, check in on attendance issues, take students to medical appointments, coordinate clothing drives, organize before and after school programs and help students with one-on-one learning. I cannot even imagine the ripple effects this short-sighted decision will have on the lives of students.”

CUPE 8443 reached out to the workers about the impacts these cuts would have on students.

“We’ve heard firsthand from members about the deep connection they have to students and the community. They are in absolute shock that this position is being cut,” said Nicholson. “Several of the impacted members are Indigenous and play a vital role in providing culturally sensitive educational practices and have built long-term relationships with family members. I am disappointed that Saskatoon Public Schools is moving forward with these cuts.”

CUPE 8443 is encouraging concerned community members to contact their school board trustees to express their concerns.