English boards should leave QESBA and invest in students


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Suburban

Last Sunday, in anticipation of a budget to be deposited this Thursday, the Conseil du patronat du Québec asked the government to be “honest” with Quebecers regarding the economic situation. The province’ largest employer group said the government should “review public spending” and even suggested some things the government could take a second look at, such as: seven dollar-a-day daycares, the heavily-funded post-secondary education system, and the matter of school boards.

Coincidentally, in a press release on Valentine’s Day, the Fédération des commission scolaire du Québec said that three of its largest member school boards decided to withdraw their membership from the Federation.

The three French school boards and amount saved to be reinvested in the classroom are: Marguerite-Bourgeoys ($200,000); Marie Victorin ($165,000) and Grandes-Seigneuries ($115,000). Basically, the boards cited “ethical differences.” (Something similar happened last year concerning Quebec’s universities. Half of them decided to withdraw their memberships from CREPUQ, the umbrella organization… They said they didn’t need someone to speak for them. CREPUQ lost about $2.5 million in membership fees.)

The nine English school boards pay anywhere from $900,000-$1 million to be members of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA). Now consider the English Montreal and Lester B. Pearson school boards. They are as different as day and night. They are perfectly capable to speak for themselves.

In today’s high-tech communications world, organizations such as the QESBA are not needed. Furthermore, there is nothing really tangible that the QESBA has done for any student, classroom or school. The government partly subsidizes the QESBA. That is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

I believe it is time for the English school boards to be honest with themselves and consider withdrawing their memberships from the QESBA and putting the savings into classrooms.

As a school taxpayer in the LBPSB system, and a grandfather of kids who attend EMSB and Pearson schools, I would much prefer getting a bigger bang for my education tax dollar, and seeing it go into a classroom rather than a board room.

Chris Eustace

Pierrefonds, Quebec