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May 8, 2000, Burnaby B.C.A big chunk of new school funding arising from a negotiated settlement with CUPE school support workers will be spent in the classroom, not on wages, says CUPE BC president Barry ONeill, which should help tighten school district budgets.

ONeill was responding to comments from Gord Comeau, newly elected head of the BC School Trustees Association, who fears a CUPE settlement would push school districts into the red.

“Our members have been very clear their main concerns are province-wide standards to stop the incessant lay-offs of teaching assistants, a minimum four-hour shift like other workers have under Employment Standards and controls on contracting-out,” ONeill said.

“Those improvements must be funded by Victoria and the benefits will flow directly to kids in the classroom. As for wages and benefits, we are simply seeking what other public sector workers receive.”

“Id be happy to brief trustees anywhere in the province on how our proposals would improve conditions for kids in the classroom,” ONeill said. “The BCSTA should call on Victoria to put that kind of agreement in front of our members so we can ratify it and get the additional support flowing to the classroom.”

But ONeill warned Comeau that taxpayers will have little sympathy for major pay increases for expanded administrative staff or the B.C. Public School Employers Association officials, which are reported to be far above government wage guidelines.

“Those dollars should be spent in the classroom, not on salary increases for the highest-paid people in the system.”

Louise Leclair, Communications Representative
(604) 291-1940

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