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A mediator has been brought in to help settle a strike by 14,000 CUPE members working for the Toronto District School Board but progress has been slow.

The members of CUPE 4400, who work as education assistants and school secretaries, custodians and lunchroom monitors, walked off the job on February 27.

The major issues remain job security, wages and benefits. The local fears 4,358 jobs will be lost because of a $300 million shortfall in the board’s budget due to the provincial government’s funding formula. As a result, there would be drastic cuts to specialized programs and to basic services.

More than 300,000 students have been affected by the strike. Many parents of children with special needs have kept them home and all extra-curricular activities have been cancelled. The board closed 21 schools because there were no staff to operate the boiler systems and a number of school-based child care centres have had to relocate.

Complaints from students and parents are increasing as a week has passed without the schools having been cleaned.