LETTER-School support staff are feeling effects of budget cuts

To the editor;
As the school year approaches, CUPE members who work in the Surrey School District take time to reflect on the past year and prepare for September 2011.

To the editor;

As the school year approaches, CUPE members who work in the Surrey School District take time to reflect on the past year and prepare for September 2011.

Our Education Assistants and Childcare Workers work with students who need specialized support ensuring that all students can be successful. These front-line workers see the impact of how budget cuts have affected the services that the students receive. The amount of unpaid time that Education Assistants and CCWs put in has been well documented.

Our caretakers are finishing their annual summer cleaning. They felt the impact of the cuts last year when all their sections were increased by an average of 1,000 to 1,500 square feet, the equivalent of a medium size house.

The clerical staff earned their vacation time. Even though the district continues to grow, there were cuts to clerical positions last year for budget reasons. Clerks in schools feel more and more pressure with the addition of programs like Strong Start and Community Schools being added.

Working in the public school system is a great job and it is also a labour of love. Students are at the center of it all, no matter what job CUPE members do. But for the CUPE staff that will be there to open up schools in September it will be a challenging year.

We are bargaining for a new collective agreement. Our schools

have been chronically underfunded for years and now in Surrey we are feeling the effects of overcrowding.

Regardless of these challenges, we look forward to welcoming new and returning students in September.

Janice Meehan

President, CUPE 728

Surrey Schools Support Staff

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