As the students of New Westminster School District are off enjoying the summer break, CUPE members feel it's time to reflect on the past year and prepare for September.
Working in the public school system is a great job, and students are at the centre, no matter what job CUPE members perform.
Our education assistants and CUPE student support staff who work on the front lines with all students, including students who require specialized service, spend their days in and out of the classroom ensuring all students succeed. They will miss the students they supported this past year, and we know the students are missing them.
As I write, our custodians are busy with the summer (deep cleaning) that includes every surface from ceilings, floors, lights, furniture, computer labs, lockers, windows, etc., in addition to servicing all of the summer programs taking place in our schools.
Our grounds workers are also busy keeping up with the demands of the season as well as summer projects that will take shape. The same holds true for our trades workers - plumbers, electricians, carpenters, painters and labourers - to assist with the renovations of Lord Tweedsmuir, Kelvin amongst the numerous summer projects and ongoing maintenance that takes place each summer.
Clerical staff are closing financial accounts, preparing for auditors, ensuring student records are in order, ordering supplies and looking after every detail that needs to be taken care of prior to the first day in September when your child walks in their school.
At the end of June, we said goodbye to four retiring members whose combined years of service exceeds six decades. That further attests to appreciating having a great job in the K-to-12system.
For the CUPE staff that will be here to open up schools in September, it will once again be a challenging year. We will continue negotiating a collective agreement that expired June 30, 2010. Our schools and student services will feel the effects of chronic public education underfunding.
Regardless of these challenges we look forward to welcoming new and returning students once again on September the sixth.
CUPE 409 wishes everyone a safe and fun summer!
Marcel Marsolais, president, CUPE Local 409