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TERRACEIf the mouse problems that exist in our schools were happening in local restaurants, says Roberta Walker, president of CUPE local 2052 the restaurants would be closed until the mice are gone and the facilities checked out for cleanliness.

That is just one of the effects of school district cutbacks. According to Walker Coast Mountain students are eating lunches while sitting on floors, carpets and even desks that are not cleaned often enough to act as indoor picnic grounds. If I was a Coast Mountain parent Id be quite concerned about the decisions this school board is making.

Walker says the responsibility for the reduced cleaning and the increase in problems such as mice rests squarely in the hands of school trustees looking for what seems like the easiest way to cut corners. But when you decide to cut hygiene to save money you are treading dangerous water, says the local union leader.

Other items on the CUPE locals year-end report card on conditions in the district include the ridiculous system for scheduling school busses and the 28 minute lunch hour that barely gives students the time to take a breath of fresh air after theyve eaten their lunches.

The board promised a miracle of savings from the four-day instructional week, said Walker. So now some staff are paid to stay home one day a week and the board claims to save money by cutting out services like cleaning, shortening breaks and rerouting busses. Where is the logic?

The district is already facing a legal challenge by some parents in the Coast Mountain District. And we havent even had time to get the full report on the social effects of cutting out one day of school.

Walker indicated that school custodians are not replaced for three school days when they are sick. When you add in the lost school day due to the four-day week it is impossible for workers to keep up the standards parents should be demanding.

CUPE local 2052 has indicated that it will begin an information campaign to keep parents, students and teachers up-to-date with the state of support services in the New Year.


Roberta Walker, CUPE Local 2052 President Coast Mountain Schools, 250-632-7776.