British Columbians want to protect public education assets - Ipsos Reid poll

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 20 /CNW/ - Fund education properly, and protect physical
assets in public education and post-secondary education. These are key
messages that CUPE BC president Barry O'Neill will bring to provincial
politicians who begin their consultation on B.C.'s 2008 budget this week.
    O'Neill says a September province-wide Ipsos Reid poll, sponsored by
CUPE, finds that the public is very concerned - and ready to commit funds to
fix education problems.
    On public school funding, 87 per cent support the provincial government
increasing funding for public education in B.C., with 68 per cent strongly
supporting an increase.
    "The public obviously gets it. Inadequate government funding, especially
with declining enrolment, has meant critical services, such as hours for
special education assistants, aren't funded. And we have seen the closure and
loss of schools in the K-12 system," says O'Neill.
    "We find a lot of support for protecting and maintaining our public
assets - the grounds, buildings and services," says O'Neill. In the K-12 area,
79 per cent want a special government funding initiative to help keep public
schools open, with close to 50 per cent of those saying it is a high priority.
    O'Neill says that CUPE members in colleges and universities have flagged
problems with the upkeep of existing buildings, grounds and services. "CUPE
workers take care of the services, buildings and grounds that allow education
to happen. We know that there is a huge public investment that is not being
properly protected."
    Ipsos finds high support for adequately maintaining and protecting
buildings, grounds and recreational facilities at colleges and universities.
When asked how much of a priority governments should place on providing funds
to ensure that these public assets are maintained and protected for the
future, fully 90 per cent would make it a priority, with 47 per cent giving it
a high priority.
    O'Neill will be making a presentation to the Standing Committee on
Finance and Government Services on Friday, September 21. A full backgrounder
on CUPE's poll is available at

For further information:

For further information: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC president, c: (604)
340-6768; Roseanne Moran, CUPE Communications, c: (778) 835-7537

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