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(Halifax) One of the province’s largest unions says the newly-announced provincial committee to study problems with school maintenance is 10 years overdue.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) says it has been complaining for at least that long about a litany of school maintenance-related problems, including concerns about mould, air quality, water quality and schools that are literally falling apart.

This week the province’s Auditor-General, Roy Salmon, released a report which was highly critical of the province’s track record on school maintenance. One school board alone is reported to have over $88 million dollars worth of deferred school maintenance work.

CUPE’s School Board Co-ordinator Terry Goulding (who works out of the union’s New Glasgow office) says, “We will be asking the new minister if there is going to be labour representation on this new committee. Education workers in the province the people who are directly involved and on the front line deserve to have a voice and meaningful input on this committee.

“If the minister is serious about tackling these longstanding problems with school maintenance, then he will welcome the input of school board workers. If he doesn’t, then Nova Scotians will know this is simply a p.r. exercise,” says Goulding.

“After at least a decade of downsizing, funding cuts and just plain neglect, school board workers in Nova Scotia have reached the end of their rope. They are determined to make the new minister accountable for solving these problems,” he adds.

For information:

Terry Goulding, CUPE School Board Co-ordinator, (902) 752-2244 (o), (902) 396-7224 (Cell)

John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative, 455-4180 (Office)