Your Local Journal Dear Editor – February 20, 2014 (Boards should be “honest”)

(YLJ does not give titles to their letters to the editor. The titles in the YLJ letters are mine.)


Dear Editor:

In light of calls for change in our school-tax system, consider these two significant announcements made last weekend:

With a provincial budget looming, the president of the province’s largest employer group, the Conseil du Patronat, asked the government to be “honest” with Quebecers regarding the economic situation. He said it was essential that the government “review public spending” and examine the administrative structures of the public sector.

One of those structures targeted is the public education system. He said Quebec does not really need 72 school boards .

While he did not advocate the outright abolition of boards, he suggested that the province optimize assets, revise the structure of delivery of public services, and “avoid duplication.”

Interestingly,the Fédération des commission scolaire du Québec lamented that three of its largest school boards had decided to officially withdraw their membership from the Federation.

The French boards: Marguerite-Bourgeoys ($200,000); Marie Victorin ($165,000) and Grandes-Seigneuries ($115,000), decided to reinvest their membership fees into their classrooms.

Coincidentally, this Saturday, Feb. 22, the Quebec English School Boards Association is managing a “Commissioner Recruitment Class” in the hope to attract more candidates to run in the school board elections slated for November.

That said, the biggest change, though, will come in a report, to be revealed this spring, based on a prudent directive by the Premier and Minister of Education.

Last autumn, to the disappointment of Quebec’s boards, the government appointed a committee of experts to analyse the management, financing, administration, and all matters involving school board governance.

By streamlining our education system, the report’s recommendations should produce tax saving measures – and that is a good thing.

Chris Eustace