More students, less money is a recipe for trouble
Edmonton –A coalition of school employees is warning Albertans that the quality of our public education system is at risk. Frontline education workers opened the first day of the new legislative session by speaking out on their concerns. Support staff from a number of school board regions including Edmonton Public, Edmonton Catholic and Calgary Public gathered in the legislature to highlight the need for increased funding.
On behalf of their students, a province-wide coalition of staff working in primary education is calling on government to restore 14.5 million that was cut from Alberta’s school budgets. Kids Not Cuts Alberta says ongoing education cuts are undermining the ability of schools to provide safe, productive learning environments for Alberta’s K-12 Students.
“Premier Redford should be paying close attention to what this coalition is saying. These are facility operators, special needs teaching assistants, library technicians, and custodial staff that are at the front lines of making sure our K-12 schools work. They have an insider perspective on what needless cuts to school board budgets do to a student’s ability to learn and excel,” Co-Chair of the 10,000-member coalition Don Boucher said.
The coalition notes that according to the Government’s own calculations student populations are projected to increase in the coming years, but budget cuts mean that schools are getting cleaned less often, that students with special needs are getting less attention, libraries have fewer staff to keep them running, and the lack of support staff means teachers can’t focus on delivering the curriculum.
“Many of us are simply fed up with what we see happening in our schools,” CUPE 30 President Mike Scott said. “It’s a shame that in one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in North America, we can’t seem to make funding our children’s schools a priority. We have 11,000 more students in our system this year alone. The government’s 14.5 million in cuts don’t make sense. We must restore these shameful cuts and ensure adequate funding for next year.”
“The legislature is back in session and planning for Budget 2014 is underway,” Boucher said. “Alberta’s students and parents cannot afford to have a repeat of last year’s budget catastrophe. Parents deserve to know their kids are in a safe, clean environment. Students deserve to have the resources they need to learn.”
Kids Not Cuts Alberta is a group of employees who have taken a stand for Alberta's kids through participation in their unions – the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Unifor. Students, parent groups, our amazing teacher colleagues, as well as everyday Albertans are allies in our coalition.
The Coalition was joined by New Democrat Education critic Deron Bilous. “This PC government can’t be trusted to stand up for kids or our public schools,” said Bilous. “They promised long-term, stable and predictable funding and then broke their promise, instead delivering cutbacks that mean that too many kids are in overcrowded classrooms without the staff supports they need.”
Kids Not Cuts Fact Sheet: Facts on Growing Schools and Decreasing Funding-30-
Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.289.6528 (cell) or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org