CUPE website sparks action
CALGARY – A website with pictures of crumbling schools and leaking roofs is prompting the province to address a $450 million maintenance deficit at the Calgary Board of Education.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 40, has been raising concern over the safety of public school buildings in Calgary for over a year. CUPE 40 President Drake Hammill recently invited Conservative MLAs to tour city schools and see for themselves how badly the money is needed.
“No one took me up on it,” said Hammill. “Harry Chase of the Liberals has been addressing the issue, but the Tories didn’t do anything until the roof failed at one school.”
Hammill decided to take pictures of some of the problems and published them on a website. After some media attention, the education minister promised a 63% increase in funding. However, it’s unclear what that means.
“Is this the money announced in the budget? Because that isn’t enough,” said Hammill. “The province says the school board can start spending money, the school board says it doesn’t have authorization from the province. Meanwhile 21 schools have leaking roofs.”
“We need action and we need it now,” said Hammill. “Are our schools safe for students, parents and staff to be in?”
Contact: Drake Hammill
See pictures of the schools at: www.alberta.cupe.ca