The message is clear: No more cuts to Vancouver schools and staff

    VANCOUVER, April 26 /CNW/ - The Vancouver School Board should get the
message delivered during community budget consultations that it needs to use
all resources available to avoid cuts and layoffs in the 2007-08 budget.
    But school support workers are concerned that instead of taking the
community's advice to use available resources, like the Local Capital Reserve,
the VSB continues to squirrel away any more funds and proceed with proposed
    "I am very concerned that during this consultation process - where
parents, support workers and teachers advised the board to use every available
cent - the VSB has actually increased the amount of the district's uncommitted
Local Capital Reserve by about $500,000. The reserve will sit at almost
$5 million next year, while the district cuts important services for students
and lays off over 100 highly skilled support staff and teachers," says Paul
Faoro, president of CUPE Local 15 whose members include over 1,400 support
workers in School District 39.
    "We have also called on the board to budget for additional revenue of
more than $3 million in 'holdback' monies from Victoria and I don't see any
evidence that they have heeded this request either," says Faoro.
    The "holdback" funds have become a hot button issue because the province
made a quiet decision to change the way these funds are allocated to school
districts. The holdback is a portion of the annual allocation to districts
that is held in reserve until actual student counts and other data are known
in the fall. Until this year (2006-07) - holdback funds were regularly
released to all districts. Only half of the promised holdback funds went to
districts in 2006-07.
    CUPE 15 representatives will be participating in a 6:30 p.m. rally at the
Vancouver School Board Education Centre. The union has written to both Premier
Campbell and Education Minister Shirley Bond, but has yet to receive any
response to its concerns.


For further information:

For further information: Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 president, (604) 879-4671
(office), (604) 202-1829 (cell); Tina Meadows, CUPE national representative,
(604) 291-1940

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