The following Letter to the Editor, written by CUPE Nova Scotia president Danny Cavanagh, was sent to newspapers throughout Nova Scotia on January 7 including: The Chronicle Herald, Metro News, Cape Breton Post, the Inverness Oran, Amherst Daily and Truro Daily News.
On behalf of the more than 4,500 school board workers CUPE represents across the province, I have written the Minister of Education asking for clarification on the ‘budget exercise’ she has asked school boards to undergo.
We have also made it clear to the minister that any potential cuts to school board funding that affect the classroom or frontline services that CUPE members provide will be unacceptable.
CUPE does not believe that fear-mongering or inflated rhetoric are helpful in this instance, since the minister has stated this is a ‘hypothetical’ exercise and nothing is carved in stone.
There are, however, lots of unanswered questions.
Is the province seeking to achieve an overall reduction of 22 per cent or some other specific percentage in the next fiscal year or over several years?
Where does the minister anticipate these proposed cuts will come from?
What impact will proposed funding reductions have on school programs, services and frontline staff?
How does the badly-needed expansion of early childhood learning and care fit into the government’s plans for the education system?
The leadership of CUPE’s school board locals in Nova Scotia will gather in late January and a plan to deal with any potential cuts to frontline services in school boards will be at the top of their agenda.
Any discussion about improving the quality and outcomes of our public school system must take into account the ideas and opinions of the 4,500 CUPE members – from teaching assistants to school bus drivers, school secretaries to custodians – who are vital to the delivery of these critical services.
President, CUPE Nova Scotia
Cell: (902) 957-0822