School board cuts to cause chaos in Near North District School Board - CUPE fights back

    NORTH BAY, ON, June 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The union representing
185 custodial, 173 secretarial and clerical and technical staff at the Near
North District School Board is urging parents and community members to contact
school trustees and tell them to reverse proposed cuts that will undermine
safety and the quality of education in schools throughout the Nipissing and
Parry Sound districts.
    "Local school trustees need to stop attacking frontline workers and
improve the safety and quality of education," said CUPE national
representative Monique Drapeau, reacting to cuts outlined in the board's
proposed budget. If the board's budget is approved in its current form, many
schools will lose full-time secretaries and custodians.
    "Parents and residents need to pay attention to what school board
trustees are doing to our community," said Drapeau, noting that Board chair
Alan Bottomley, and trustees Linda-Anne Thompson and Linda Williams voted
against deferring the vote on the contentious school board budget yesterday.
"We also need to support and congratulate trustees who refused to approve the
budget in its current form and encourage them to defeat it unless the cuts are
removed." Trustees Jay Aspin, Randy Sheppard, David Thompson, Eunice Saari,
Colleen Goupil and Kathy Hewitt all voted to defer the vote to allow time to
consider other budget options.
    "Cutting secretaries and creating a massive chain-bumping migration,
while challenging the qualifications of secretaries who move from elementary
to secondary schools, is creating chaos in our schools and demoralizing our
workforce," said Drapeau. "Instead of attacking frontline staff and essential
school services, trustees should be challenging the provincial government and
local MPP Monique Smith to fix the funding formula and secure adequate funding
for our communities."
    CUPE is filing grievances on behalf of affected members and encouraging
community members to get involved and stop the cuts.
    "Cutting secretarial and custodial hours in our schools will at times
create unsafe situations where no adults will be available to help and protect
students, while teachers are busy teaching," added Drapeau. "We need to
challenge our elected representatives to do better for our children and our

For further information:

For further information: Monique Drapeau, CUPE National Representative:
(705) 474-9765; Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications: (416) 292-3999

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