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BURNABY – Why is the provincial government being so secretive about education legislation being planned for the spring legislative sitting? Why are key stakeholders, including school districts, teachers and support staff, not being consulted in areas that could well affect the way they work—or don’t work—in the future? And how much do parents with students in B.C.’s public school system really know about proposed changes that could be coming as early as next September?

For CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill, these are key questions that must be answered if the proposed changes are to be seen in a positive light.

Twenty-five thousand CUPE members provide support services to students, parents, teachers and administrators in B.C.’s public school system.

CUPE members who represent special education assistance, school maintenance, custodial, food services, computer support and support for aboriginal students have so far been denied participation in consultation processes established by the provincial government to discuss what is being dubbed the “re-purposing” of B.C’s public education system.

Excluding CUPE members from consultations, whether at the School Planning Councils and the Learning Roundtable or province-wide consultations on the so-called ‘repurposing’ of schools seems like a negative strategy on the part of government,” says O’Neill.

School support staff in British Columbia and their co-workers in B.C.’s public libraries, childcare and literacy programs have a great deal at stake in the current debate over government plans.

We’re looking forward to an invitation to participate,” says O’Neill!

COPE 491