The union representing the Early Childhood Educators that staff Surrey’s StrongStart program are urging the Surrey School District to explore all options to save this vital public education program. CUPE 728, representing over 30 Early Childhood Educators that staff the program, says closure or significant cuts are not an option for the community.

“StrongStart is a crucial program for children and families. It provides accessible, no-cost support to families with pre-school aged children that is not available anywhere else,” says Tammy Murphy, president of CUPE 728. “We hope the School District will look at all options to protect and strengthen the StrongStart program and make sure it is a priority for the next school year.”

CUPE 728 is calling for the Provincial Government to work with School District 36 and other districts to address long-term funding for programs like StrongStart but says Surrey as a community has a responsibility to ensure our children have the public education opportunities they need and deserve at all ages.

“Families trust the StrongStart Early Childhood Educators to provide the highest level of care and guidance for their children in a safe and healthy learning environment. Losing this program will be a crushing blow to these families and the dedicated workers that make it possible,” says Murphy. “The District needs to explore more measures to keep this program alive for the next school year, and be prepared to work with the Province and all stakeholders to make it sustainable in the long-term.”

CUPE 728 will be discussing its concerns on the future of the StrongStart program with the Surrey Board of Trustees next week.

“As we’ve seen with the outpouring of support from Surrey parents and teachers, StrongStart is important to our community. With their career in question, calls for action from parents and our fellow educators are greatly appreciated,” says Murphy. “We are all dedicated to strengthening our public education system and programs like StrongStart.”