‘Fight’ coming over school closure plan, says union

BROCKVILLE – The union representing support staff at the Upper Canada District School board says it’s “gearing up for a fight” over a proposal to close up to 29 schools in Eastern Ontario.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 5678 said Monday they base their opposition on “our deep knowledge about the vital role that our schools play in our communities.”

CUPE 5678 represents education assistants (EAs), custodians, school administration and other support staff.

“We understand the financial pressures that have led to be proposed closures,” said Sue Hanson, president of the union.

CUPE doesn’t believe several factors have been considered in this plan, such as added travel time, overcrowding due to new enrollments at schools that stay open, lost child care spaces, lost locations for after-school activities and the economic effect on local communities.

Hanson said they will urge the board to join the union in lobbying the province for better funding.

On the same day the union released its plan, the Ontario government announced it was building 28 new school and expanding 23 to accommodate 21,000 students.