Mission school workers busy throughout summer

Editor, The Record:

As the school year draws to a close, Mission Public Schools CUPE members take time to reflect on the past year and prepare for September 2011.

Working in the public school system is a great job and it is also a labour of love. Students are at the center of it all, no matter what job CUPE members do.

Our education assistants, youth care workers, and aboriginal liaison workers work with students who need specialized support to ensure that all students can be successful. They will continue to take training in their areas to keep current with supporting special needs students and other students with which they work.

While the number of custodians who keeps schools clean is lower in the summer, many schools will get a deep cleaning — computer labs, lockers, windows, and every surface are cleaned. Classrooms are cleared and floors washed and waxed.

Carpenters, plumbers, electricians and painters will be busy with ongoing maintenance. This is the time of year to do those retrofit and other projects along with the day-to-day maintenance while students are gone.

Bus drivers and mechanics will ensure the buses are clean and in good working order for students in September. We are proud of bus drivers and the professional way they carry out their daily duties while ensuring safety of our students.

Our grounds workers have done a great job maintaining all school properties with a very limited number of staff. This work goes on throughout the summer, ensuring the students and public can continue to enjoy the safe use of school fields and playgrounds.

Secretaries will close all financial accounts for every school and conclude student reporting for this school year. They will prepare for the start of the next school year, striving for a smooth transition for students and parents. They deal with a variety of tasks in the daily operation of the school supporting students, teachers and administration. Some secretaries will work over the summer to ensure supplies, services and supports are in place for September.

At the end of this year we said good bye to seven retiring CUPE members. Two of these retired workers represent a combined 68 years of service to this school district while the seven members have a combined total 136 years in service. We wish them well.

For the CUPE staff that will be there in September, they recognize it will be a challenging year ahead. Bargaining has started for a new collective agreement, and our schools and student services have felt the effects of chronic underfunding. Regardless, we look forward to welcoming new and returning students in September and wish everyone a safe and fun-filled summer.

George Forsythe

President, CUPE Local 593