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HALIFAX Following their decisive victory at last weeks Council meeting, instructional support staff are now targeting the board itself in their fight to save the vital educational services children in the Halifax area depend on.

Last week, the instructional support staff, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 108 convinced the Halifax Regional Municipality to tie the additional supplementary funding to rehiring the instructional support workers who received lay off notices in the past two weeks. But rather than taking the steps necessary to rehire these laid off workers, the board has decided to go against councils decision.

The school board has shown a complete disregard for the welfare of its workers, says Larry Power, CUPE national representative. The educational program assistants, the student support workers, the library technicians and assistants are the ones who help your children succeed in school and in life. Its about time the school board shows some respect for the workers who play such an essential role in our childrens education.

CUPE local 108 is currently seeking answers from the school board on why library assistant and technician positions in the former cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, are still being targeted for reductions. These positions were funded out of supplementary funding in the past and local 108 wants that level of service to be re-instated.

Another of the groups hardest hit by the school boards decision to cut programs, are the Student Support Workers. These 16 workers comprised of 98% visible minorities, are the ones who get involved. Theyre the ones who work directly with students at risk. They intervene in their lives outside their school, and work closely with their teachers to work through the difficulties these students face.

If the board follows through with its plan to wipe out this program, this not only will hurt the at-risk students, it will also send a clear message to Halifaxs multi-cultural community, that intolerance is acceptable, says Power.

In response to the HRSB Chairwomen Stella Campbells recent comments about the HRMs decision to tie supplementary funding to the instructional support services, CUPE local 108 sent off a letter to the Superintendent of the School Board, David Reid requesting an immediate meeting with senior administration to clarify their position. The union is still waiting for a response.

For more information please contact:

Larry Power at 455-4180 or Gary Beaman at 454-6369