Keep Education Funding in Place, Education Support Staff on Payroll, Urges CLAC
Winnipeg—CLAC is calling on the Manitoba government to keep education funding in place, and for school divisions to keep education support staff on the payroll, despite yesterday’s announcement to indefinitely suspend school-based learning.
CLAC is a union representing nonteaching employees in Manitoba school divisions.
“We recognize this is an unprecedented, challenging time,” says Geoff Dueck Thiessen, CLAC’s Winnipeg regional director. “We also see this as a great opportunity to capitalize on the immense value of all employees in the education of our students.
“Our members are well positioned to support learning while education goes through a massive adjustment to distanced, technology supported learning. If we remove them now, the system is going to feel the impact of their absence.
“We are hearing from our members that they know this is a very difficult situation for parents and students. Educational assistants and other support staff want to be a part of the solution. They are eager and ready to support teachers, students, and parents in this new model. Students with higher needs will particularly benefit from the continued support of established relationships.”
Further, CLAC urges school divisions and school-specific administration to utilize the expertise and willingness of support staff creatively. In all instances, it is CLAC’s position that employees continue to be paid, and not receive any decrease in wages or benefits.
“The majority of these nonteaching employees are working fewer than 40 hours per week, yet are highly committed to supporting learning,” says Dueck Thiessen. “It is imperative that they not be put in a precarious position at this time. When we’re at the point where school can resume, we will need them to be available, healthy, and ready to return to the school environment.”