Letter to the editor 4, Dec. 11, 2014

Dear Editor,

On Monday, December 8, 2014, the Lester B. Pearson School Board held its first Executive Committee Meeting since the school board election held November 2. The election also meant that school boards would now operate under the rules of Bill 88, which calls for more parent commissioners. There were four present at the meeting. One of the items on the agenda involved the National School Boards Association Conference to be held in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 21-23, 2015.

Earlier this year, you may recall the conference was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, and cost the Pearson taxpayer over $5000 for the chairperson and chairman of the Executive Committee meeting to attend the two-day conference. Even though the parent commissioners asked valid questions, the board approved for the chairperson and another commissioner to attend the conference. (Parent commissioners do not have a vote).

It is difficult to justify this type of expense when these conferences appear to provide little pedagogical value that could be utilized by any school or teacher in the Pearson Board. I can’t think of one useful idea that originated from these conferences. Furthermore, isn’t Quebec undergoing an austerity plan? Moreover, this type of “lavish spending” has been rightfully criticized by the President of the Quebec Treasury board.

Why not have our own conferences in one of our large high schools with a couple of hundred people attending? There are many smart Quebecers who would love to share their ideas on education matters with others. We should spend our professional development money helping our own economy, and not squander precious school tax dollars in a different country.

Chris Eustace

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