Catholic School Board cuts will hurt special needs students warns CUPE

    PETERBOROUGH, June 20 /CNW Telbec/ - School budget cuts announced by the
Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic District School
Board will hurt special needs students, warns the Canadian Union of Public
Employees (CUPE).
    "Forty-one Educational Assistants could be laid off later this month,
following cuts to EA hours announced in the school board's new budget,
reducing assistance for special needs students in our schools," said Terri
Elliott, president of CUPE 1453. "School trustees and management need to stand
up to the provincial government to stop chronic under-funding of vital school
services in our communities."
    CUPE represents over 240 Educational Assistants who help and care for
special needs students in 38 elementary and secondary schools and 260 members
who work in office, clerical, technical, custodial and maintenance positions.
    "The cuts represent over 17 per cent of the EA staff," said Elliott. "It
is very unlikely that come September, our schools will have 17 per cent fewer
special needs students - the board will need to explain to parents how they
will look after the needs of students with a dwindling number of EAs who are
already stretched beyond capacity."
    "Our members are shocked, angry and will mobilize to take action to
ensure that we elect MPPs in the upcoming provincial election that will make
education a priority, and fund it appropriately," said Elliott. "This school
board must also take leadership and find ways to avoid cuts that hurt students
and lower the quality of their education." The union plans to meet with the
board to discuss ways to avoid layoffs and maintain the quality of education
services for special needs students in our communities.

For further information:

For further information: Terri Elliott, CUPE 1453 President, (705)
931-1796; Derek Blackadder, CUPE National Representative, (705) 930-3724 cell;
James Chai, CUPE Communications, (416) 292-3999

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