Letter to the editor 3, July 3, 2015

Dear Editor,

If there was ever a reason to welcome the Quebec Government’s plans to discard school board elections to modernize and democratize the public education system, look no further than the actions and inactions of this week’s Council of Commissioners’ meetings of the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), and the English Montreal School Board (EMSB).

On June 29, over 60 supporters of documentation-technicians and librarians were dealt another blow by the Pearson board. The board said it could not reconsider its original decision to dismiss all elementary school librarians, due to budget cuts, because the government’s budget parameters were not yet known.

Despite a petition with over 2500 signatures, and about 170 worried people at the Pearson meeting on June 8, the board said everyone would have to wait until the August council meeting. Parameters or not, Pearson is not being reasonable; it is not listening to the community and it is apparent it does not really appreciate the pedagogical value of library services.

Consider: A few years ago, the board passed a provisional budget, of sorts, without the parameters. Moreover, there is a lot of money available from the International School program. It would have been very easy for Pearson, a master at obfuscation and procrastination led by a chairperson with a lot honeyed words, to pass a satisfactory resolution, but really chose to do nothing.

The next day, June 30, the EMSB passed a balanced budget, even having a surplus, mainly due to its International School program. Soon we’ll be receiving a school tax bill. Now, recall the comment of candidate for LBPSB chairperson, at last November’s school board elections.

Long-time LBPSB vice-president Angela Nolet wrote in a Central Parents Committee Report: “As it stands now, the school board budget is not even that transparent to the commissioners!”

Think about former Pearson commissioner Bart Sellitto, now a Governing Board Community Representative, who basically asked at the January 2015 Council meeting concerning the Budget Consultation: “Where is the other 2 per cent, which represents over $5 million?”

That said, there is one bright light in this bleak picture: the Quebec government.

The government is promising us to have more control of our schools, and, I believe, a much bigger say, where our tax dollars go to maximize our children’s / grandchildren’s success at school.

It’s all good.

Chris Eustace


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