Quebec English School Boards Association
New education minister pressed on board future
Aylmer Bulletin staff
The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) is wondering who exactly Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education, had met after he said he had consulted the English community about the abolition of school boards. The new minister made the comment during a radio interview on a popular French morning show.
Roberge also explained that he would not abolish school boards, but rather transform them. CAQ proposed abolishing school boards during the last election, in which it won a substantial majority.
“We need an institution at the regional level to deal with certain questions, such as bus schedules, payrolls, provide administration support, etc. The 72 school boards will become 72 administrative centres,” said Roberge during the interview.
Roberge added that when he explained his vision to members of the English community, they were reassured and satisfied that they would maintain control of their institutions. “We are meeting with them and reassuring them that they will not be shortchanged,” added Roberge.
QESBA President Dan Lamoureux later responded that not one of the large number of English-speaking educational and community groups supporting the QESBA say they were consulted, nor that they favoured abolishing school boards. “We are dumbfounded that this Minister would declare that we are collectively in favour of abolishing the only institutions that belong to our community,” declared Lamoureux. Roberge later clarified that he had talked to teachers and principals, as well as a number of unions and associations in education.
Despite their month-old request, QESBA shared its disappointment that the Minister has not yet had time to meet with them; this association of English public school boards in Québec administers the education of 100,000 students in 340 elementary and high schools, and adult and vocational centres.
“The suggestion by the Minister that he is able to reassure unnamed people or groups in the English‐speaking community when he hasn’t yet met with major stakeholders is profoundly disturbing,” stated the President.
Roberge was appointed as the CAQ’s Education Minister in mid-October.