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BURNABY CUPE school board workers are furious after a private meeting this week revealed that the school board is refusing to reinstate support staff even though the money is there due to new enrolment figures.

Our members and the community, especially the multicultural community, want to know why the board is not rehiring multicultural liaison workers and other support staff, said Terry Allen, president of CUPE Local 379.

CUPE and its community partners will demand that the board use the new money to rehire laid-off workers. They are also calling for an independent audit of the school districts budget.

The board predicted in its preliminary budget in May that there would be a decline of 364 students this year, said Allen. Now we have learned that there is an increase of 236.5 students over last year.

First they predict a decline, then they lay off CUPE members based on that prediction, Allen said. But then they do not hire them back when the proper figure is released. One minute they say there is a $2.4 million shortfall, then it all disappears.

Allen says the board used the shortfall to justify the budget cuts, particularly to multicultural liaison workers. Then when the money rolls in they say they cannot reinstate CUPE members.

CUPE is meeting with community partners this week to plan the next step in the battle to provide valued school support services to Burnaby residents.

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Contact: Terry Allen, CUPE Local 379 President, 604-291-7800.