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CUPE poses questions to Education Minister

By Randy Thoms Aug 29, 2023 | 6:39 PM

Frontline education workers are looking for answers from Ontario’s Education Minister.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is posing a series of questions related to funding and programs.

President Laura Walton wants to know if he’s aware of what goes on in schools.

“It is crucial for Education Minister Stephen Lecce to answer these questions directly to demonstrate that he has a solid understanding of his portfolio, current affairs, constitutional conventions, and the reality facing students and workers in the schools that are funded by his ministry,” says Walton.

CUPE, which represents secretaries, early childhood educators and custodians, agreed to a new contract last December but remains vocal about what it says is the underfunding of schools.

The list of questions starts with a math question regarding the funding of schools since 2018.

Data revealed by CUPE suggests school boards receive, on average, $1,200 less per student than they did five years ago when inflation is factored in.

Other questions include;

Question #2: Why do you think financial literacy should be a requirement for students when you and your government do not seem to understand the effect of inflation on the value of a dollar over time – and the resulting school board service cuts when you fail to increase funding enough to keep up with the rising cost of expenses?

Question #3: Have you asked Steve Clark, the housing minister and your cabinet colleague, to resign in response to the release of the auditor general’s damning report about collusion with billionaire developers?

Question #4: If you answered no to Question #3 (or didn’t provide a clear answer), when will you ask Minister Clark to resign as a demonstration of ministerial accountability and a bare minimum effort to restore Ontarians’ faith in your government’s ability to govern in the public interest?

Question #5: If, in the next cabinet shuffle, you’re appointed minister of housing, will you rescind the Greenbelt giveaway and restore the Greenbelt to its boundaries before parcels of land were removed at the behest of Conservative-friendly developers to financially benefit them last year?

Question #6: Bill 98, which became law in June, gave you broad powers to compel school boards to sell off school buildings and properties with little oversight. What school lands are you planning to sell off to developers?

Question #7: When was the last time you spent a day in a public school or classroom shadowing a frontline education worker (e.g. an educational assistant, early childhood educator, custodian, secretary, etc.)?

Question #8: If invited by a frontline education worker to spend a full day at work with them this school year, to experience the reality facing students and workers in Ontario schools, will you accept?



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