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Edson - A brief from the education support staff of the Grande Yellowhead Regional Division, says that funding for teacher and library aides, technology, maintenance and trades and administrative and clerical staff is hurting our schools and students.

Earlier this year we did a survey of our members, said Pat Mitchell, President of CUPE Local 1357. What we found isnt surprising. There are not enough teacher aides for special needs children or a library aide in each school. Nor can we maintain our schools properly. One school has been waiting a year for repairs to its parking lot lighting. Clerical staff have had hours cut and administrative work cant be completed anymore. Many of our people, in fact, are putting in unpaid overtime because they car about our schools.

Support staff believe that the reason that support services are not funded adequately is because of a systemic undervaluing of the work they do. Highlights of the brief are:

  • When asked, have any support staff been cut in your school, shop or work area? - 52% responded YES (61% of teacher aides said YES).

  • 85.4% of teacher aides identified less time to support children with serious learning disabilities as a serious problem or sometimes a problem.

  • 67% of teacher aides said that there was no time for teacher aide support for children with mild/moderate needs. An additional 27% said this was sometimes a problem for a total of 94%.

  • 63% (81) of respondents said that it is sometimes a problem or a serious problem that the reduction in hours for staff is affecting access to library/computer resources.

  • Almost half of the respondents reported that reduction in book purchases was sometimes a problem or a serious problem.

  • 44% of clerical staff responding indicated that reduced clerical hours for receiving phone calls and observing students safe arrivals at school and leaving for home was a serious problem or sometimes a problem.

  • Staff cuts/reduction in hours resulting in delays responding to maintenance calls were identified by 47% (60 respondents) as sometimes a problem or a serious problem. For example (quote to show impact…)

  • Cutbacks effecting work on preventative maintenance were identified by 53 respondents (42%) as sometimes a problem or a serious problem.

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For more information, please call Pat Mitchell at (780) 723-3908.