For Chantal Gore-Langton, the ongoing school strike is more than just a frustrating, stressful inconvenience. It is also a strain on her budget.
The single mother from Sidney said she spent $72 over two days to put the older of her two sons, seven-year-old Ryder, into day camps offered by Panorama Recreation Centre. When added up over a whole week, Gore-Langton could be looking at bill of $180 or more if the strike continues, no small figure by any stretch, especially for a singe mother.
“Being a single mom, it is incredibly difficult,” she said. “I don’t have a lot of extra money to be throwing around. Yes, he has a pass, but it doesn’t make it any easier trying to get him up there and back and trying to get him into the courses.”
Gore-Langton, like so many other parents affected by the strike of support workers represented by CUPE Local 441 in SD63, has been relying on a network of support, including family members, to provide care for her children with school out.
“He [her son] should be in school,” she said. “There should be no reason why the government can’t make amends, give the support staff what they are requesting, which is legitimately fair across the board, and get the kids back into school,” she said.
Along the way, she has shared her frustrations with other parents and officials including local MLA Adam Olsen.
“I feel, as a tax paying citizen, that my tax dollars should be going towards the teachers and support staff pay rather than putting kids in day camps or child care,” she said in a letter to his office.
Gore-Langton said both sides could have resolved the disputes a long time ago and her loyalties lie clearly with the striking support staff, who deserve the same pay as their peers in other school districts.
“Instead they are forced to strike, leaving us parents scrambling to find child care for our children so we can still go to work to pay for these taxes spent on picket lines and out of school care for our kids,” she said.
Both sides have resumed negotiations, but no settlement has been reached yet.
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