Letter to the editor 2, Jan. 21, 2016

Dear Editor,

At the Lester B. Pearson School Board Executive Committee Meeting January 18, it was announced that the board is attempting to recruit more students to its International Program by exploring the Philippines, Morocco and Thailand.

Meanwhile across the Pearson board there are hundreds of worried parents wondering where their children will go to school in September.

This is a direct result of a Major School Change that occurred at the December Council meeting, when commissioners decided to either close, merge, or rezone some schools.

Moreover, schools that were most affected had no clue what was coming down. Governing boards were kept completely in the dark.

For the past several weeks, parents have strongly reacted to these poorly thought-out decisions by seeking help from municipal, provincial and federal politicians. Add to that, many petitions and a lot of media attention.

That said, one school in particular, deserves some mention: Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School (PETES).

I have been attending Pearson Council meetings for about 17 years. By far, PETES, situated in the fastest growing English community of the Pearson board, has attracted the most attention. Since Day 1 there have been problems.

Who can forget, in May 2010, the much publicized feud between the mayor of Vaudreuil-Dorion Guy Pilon and former LBPSB chair Marcus Tabachnick?

The mayor was obligated to write an 'Open Letter,' which was reported, citing the board's "lack of vision." Unfortunately, the chairman attempted to turn this "lack of vision" into a language issue, which it wasn't.

This "language issue" business brings to mind the recent call by the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) to include more English speakers at the Bill 86 hearings.

The QCGN is an umbrella organization to 45 English-speaking community groups, which strongly opposes Bill 86 - a bill on school board reform, which gives parents more decision making power.

Last December, led by the Quebec English School Boards Association, the QCGN, the Federation of Home and School Associations, and the English Parents' Committee Association, said at a press conference: "Bill 86 belongs in the garbage."

Regardless, for about two weeks, prior to the Major School Change meeting, Chairperson Suanne Stein Day, who is also vice-president of the QESBA was around China with the president of the QESBA, who is also chairperson of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board. Apparently, they were there to recruit more students to come to Quebec (their boards) to study.

It is evident to me that Chairperson Stein Day did not do her homework on the PETES dossier. Too much time was spent in foreign lands and fighting the Quebec government over Bill 86.

I believe Mayor Guy Pilon may very well have an answer to the problems facing the concerned parents of PETES.

He is known as a man of action.

Chris Eustace


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