I am writing today to update you on where we stand in the Budget process for next year. We have met multiple times with Richmond’s MLA’s to discuss the shortfall and funding levels, however despite this lobbying they have declined. They based their decision on the fact the District has a 9.8 million dollar surplus. We understand that there needs to be some surplus maintained for unexpected situations, but strongly believe that this is the time to spend more of it. Like we have said many times, it is a rainy day, it is time to spend the rainy day fund. Thank you to Trustee Richard Lee for advocating for the Trustees to spend more of the surplus so that our members can continue to work to support the students of SD 38. Unfortunately he was not supported by the other Trustees but we appreciate his advocacy. The budget was passed and Trustee Lee was the only one to vote no.
I am still taken aback by the fact the district wasn’t interested in being more creative in looking at other areas to balance the budget. I am sure we all know of ways the district could save money other than cutting our jobs. But they chose not to.
We are also trying to work with the employer on the Educational Assistant downsizing. Your Union believes any downsizing, regardless of the FTE allocation, should be done by seniority. The employer disagrees. We have filed a grievance on this.
We now have to support our members who will lose their jobs. I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety they have been experiencing waiting for the budget to pass. Now that it has, the reality is setting in, they are really going to lose their jobs. I ask you to join me in saying we are here for you and will do everything we can to support you moving forward. If there ever was a time for solidarity – it is now.
Cupe 716 President