Since last week’s win in the Quebec election of Liberal leader Philippe Couillard , there has been an article , a press release (both April 8), and an opinion piece pertaining to the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA). The three write-ups, in essence, ask the new government for more money.
Let me tie in those three accounts with student success.
At the last Lester B. Pearson School Board Council Meeting , a synopsis of a School Tax Management Committee Report was made available. One issue of the report concerned : ” Education in underprivileged areas.”
It seems that poverty levels have worsened everywhere on the Island of Montreal.
On April 7, Chairperson of Pearson Suanne Stein Day , who is also a director of the QESBA, and another commissioner returned from New Orleans, Louisiana, where they attended the National School Board Association Conference. Cost for that trip would be a few thousand dollars.
Also, education tax dollars has been set aside for 15 LBPSB commissioners to attend another conference , on May 22, in the most posh hotel in Quebec City. Minimum cost would be $15,000.
According to page 31 of the LBPSB 2012-2013 Annual Report, expenditures for these events, which fall under the guise of ” Professional Development (PD) ” have increased : 2012 – about $98,000 ; in 2013 – about $129,000. Meanwhile we lost 450-550 students to other schools.
For the past 15 years , I have witnessed the Pearson board allocate tens of thousands of dollars for these conventions, yet I have never heard of one useful idea from these events that would help students or teachers. Not one.
In contrast to the $10,000’s squandered to have a good time , teachers are allocated only $240 (PD) a year , which, of course , is geared toward student success.
The press release concluded : “We are waiting for the new premier‑elect to show leadership in public education,” and the April 15 piece: “Mr. Premier, the ball is in your court.”
No, the ball is really in the court of the fed-up taxpayers, who will be receiving their school tax bill in a few weeks.
Coincidentally, at the same time a report is expected from a ‘comité d’experts ‘ mandated by the Parti Québécois to analyse all matters of finance, governance, and administration of school boards. Hopefully, one recommendation is more decision-making power for governing boards.
It will be those governing boards who will realize that the QESBA has outlived its costly usefulness – about $ 225,000.
Then follow the leadership example of Diane Lamarche-Venne, chairperson of the neighbouring Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys, who said : ” We must think of the taxpayer.” Then ditched their provincial association.
The majority Couillard government supports the elected school board system ; however, this November, school board elections will take place.
We have voted in a new provincial government, and, we , the taxpayer, must vote in fresh new bright commissioners.
The status quo characterised by arrogance, negligence and extravagance, must end.