FORT MCMURRAY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Feb. 14, 2013) - Reducing the hours of Educational Assistants in Fort McMurray public schools only hurts students, and especially hurts special needs kids.
That was the assessment of the union representing support staff in Fort McMurray schools. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) represents over 300 non-teaching staff, including Educational Assistants.
The Fort McMurray School District is considering a four day school week so it can save about $800,000 on salaries, primarily for Educational Assistants.
"Educational Assistants allow special needs students to be integrated in the classroom," said CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts. "They allow teachers the time to focus on all students, special needs and typical. Reducing the hours of EAs is a recipe for chaotic, ineffective classrooms."
Roberts said it was wrong for the school district to aim so much of their budget cutting at special needs students. But she said the real villain is the Provincial Government.
"Alison Redford promised stable, predictable funding - but school districts are taking away services from vulnerable kids because funding isn't high enough. It's time to recognize that schools are underfunded, and education is suffering."