Essential service or needless bureaucracy?

A retired teacher and the chairperson of the Lester B. Pearson School Board were asked: What exactly do school boards do?

By Catherine Solyom |  Published October 2, 2013 by The Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL – If Pauline Marois is truly considering abolishing school boards in Quebec — including the nine English ones — she can count on some unlikely allies from within the English-language school ranks.

While school boards on the island of Montreal are not affected by the PQ’s demand to reimburse taxpayers of $100 million, they are as much a target of its plan to re-examine the way schools are administered and financed as all the other boards in the province. Quebec’s total budget for school boards is about $10 billion.

As Education Minister Marie Malavoy put it on Tuesday:

“We have to face the facts — the system of financing school boards has reached the end of its useful life … in the short to medium term, we have to propose a new model that is fair and equitable, with regards to the services given to students as well as for all Quebec citizens.”

Asked whether that could mean abolishing the school boards, she said “everything’s on the table.”

Suanne Stein Day — the chairperson of the Lester B. Pearson School Board in Montreal, who also sits on the board of directors of the Quebec English School Boards Association — says abolishing the school boards would be a big mistake, and students would suffer.

Retired teacher Chris Eustace, on the other hand, who taught in several schools run by the LBPSB and now has grandchildren at its schools, says good riddance to the school boards.

Both were asked: What exactly do school boards do?

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