COQUITLAM (NEWS1130) – Students in Coquitlam will be saying goodbye to some of their support workers at the end of the month. Dozens have recieved layoff notices and it’s all because of the School District 43‘s $12.6 million deficit.
Dave Ginter, President of CUPE Local 561, calls it “devastating” and points out he’s been with the union 27 years and has “never seen a deficit this high.”
More than 50 people are losing their jobs and as he explains many of them are youth workers dealing with vulnerable kids.
“Their prime role is looking after behaviour kids and we have them in the high school, and we have them in the elementary schools. Some of them are in alternate programs here….Youth workers play an important role in the breakfast program and the lunch program, making sure some of these kids who don’t get three square meals a day, at least they’ll come to school and they’ll get a breakfast,” says Ginter.
Others affected include administrative staff and maintenance workers.
“We have tradesmen cut for the first time that I’ve seen in 25 years. We have clerical staff working closely with the kids. And career resource facilitators, those people that help kids plan their future. Every high school was reduced drastically,” explains Ginter.
In New Westminster, nearly 40 support workers are out of a job due to that district‘s $5.5 million shortfall. Almost three quarters of the staff are special education assistants.