HALIFAX The Halifax Regional School Board has betrayed its promise of “putting students first” by releasing a draft budget that cuts 101 full-time equivalent positions students in need rely on most.
Thats according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) local 108, the union representing the school boards library technicians and assistants, educational program assistants (EPAs) and student support workers.
“We have one of the highest illiteracy and student drop out rates in the country,” says Gary Beaman, president of CUPE local 108. “And where does the board plan to cut? The workers who are essential to assisting special needs children, children who are at risk of dropping out and children who struggle with reading.”
In their draft budget, released on Tuesday night, the school board announced its plan to slash 35 library assistants, 6 student support positions and 60 EPAs. The cuts are a direct result of the provinces decision to cut $11.5 million from the school boards budget.
“Were talking about the workers who are essential to the growth and development of our children,” says Beaman. “Yet theyre the ones targeted in this draft budget. When compared to other school board positions, theyre the ones that are going to take the biggest hit.”
In response to the boards plan to balance its books on the backs of instructional support workers, local 108 is actively working with its members and the public to force the board to reconsider its draft budget and the province to put the money back into education.
Today, local 108 brought the concerns of its members to Province House and confronted Education Minister Jane Purvis about the impact these cuts will have on students. While she agreed students will be effected, she told the union that she wasnt responsible because she didnt write the school board budget.
“That answer is not good enough, says Beaman “She controls the purse strings.” We wouldnt be in this mess if the province didnt slash $11.5 million from the school boards budget,” says Beaman.
CUPE represents 12,000 front line workers in Nova Scotia and local 108 represents 672 school board workers.
For more information, please contact:
Gary Beaman or Larry Power at 454-6369