Posts tagged ‘EMSB’

February 14, 2014

CJAD Gang of Four discusses the EMSB’s presentation at the Bill 60 hearings

Robert Green, Anne Lagacé-Dowson, Trudie Mason and Tommy Shnurmacher discuss the EMSB’s presentation at the Bill 60 hearings. Click here to stream or download the podcast.

February 13, 2014

English Montreal School Board squares off against Drainville

By Philip Authier | Published February 12, 2014 by The Montreal Gazette
Sparks flew on Wednesday as the province’s largest English language school board refused to back down on threats to use “all possible recourses” to fight the charter of secular values.Despite a harsh scolding from Democratic Institutions Minister Bernard Drainville, who accused the English Montreal School Board of being “completely irresponsible” in the language it uses opposing the bill, the board was unyielding.

“Do you exclude or not civil disobedience?” Drainville snapped repeatedly at the three female board representatives appearing before the committee studying Bill 60.

“I think you went too far in suggesting you won’t respect the law. I want to give you the occasion to tell us once the law is adopted you will respect it as all good citizens respect laws of a society.”

Although the board’s brief makes no direct use of the words, it does say it will use “all possible resources at our disposal so that this legislation can never apply.”

Drainville started the day telling reporters that appears to mean the English Montreal School Board would resort to civil disobedience.

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January 10, 2014

Values charter endorses bullying, EMSB says

School board says it won’t accept any attempt to legislate staff dress code

By Monique Muise | Published January 9, 2014 by The Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL — The English Montreal School Board says Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values “gives a government endorsement to bullying” in its schools, and as such, it will neither support nor adhere to the controversial legislation.

In a brief to be presented at the National Assembly during hearings into what is now known as Bill 60, the EMSB outlines the reasons for its opposition to the charter, which would forbid public servants — including teachers and principals — from wearing conspicuous religious symbols on the job.

“We cannot be party to a proposed legislation which, if passed, runs contrary to what we teach our students insofar as tolerance and respect of individual rights and religious freedoms are concerned,” reads the brief, released on Thursday morning. The board then states clearly that it will “not accept” any attempt to legislate the wearing of clothing, headgear, jewelry or other adornments among its staff.

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November 29, 2013

EMSB says no to Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values

Second Montreal institution to defy Bill 60’s ban on the wearing of religious symbols by public-sector workers

By Michelle Lalonde | Published November 28, 2013 by The Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL – The English Montreal School Board became the second major institution to signal it will stand against the Parti Québécois’ proposed charter of values when it passed a motion Wednesday stating it has no intention of implementing a ban on the wearing of religious symbols by public-sector workers.

Following the lead of the Jewish General Hospital, which announced its intention to ignore that part of the charter two weeks ago, the EMSB passed a motion to defy certain provisions of the charter at a regular board meeting Wednesday night.

“The English Montreal School Board wishes to make it clear that it cannot accept the provisions of Bill 60 which relate to the wearing of objects such as headgear, clothing, jewelry or other adornments which, by their conspicuous nature, overly indicate a religious affiliation, and shall not implement any of the religious elements of Bill 60, should it be passed by the National Assembly,” reads the resolution, which passed with one abstention and no opposing votes.

EMSB commissioner Syd Wise, who moved the motion Wednesday, told other board members that the prospect of a government asking the board members for lists of employees whose garb contravenes the charter makes him shudder.

“The EMSB is one of the more important English institutions in Quebec. We are in the business of education. Our teachers teach tolerance to others and respect of individual rights, which includes freedom to adhere to one’s religious convictions. The essence of Bill 60 runs contrary to what this board stands for and what we teach our kids.”

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October 4, 2013

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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October 3, 2013

Spiridigliozzi, others fined by AMF

Published Octobre 2, 2013 by The Montreal Gazette


A former chairperson of the English Montreal School Board has been fined $28,000 for illegal practices as a damage insurance broker.

Dominic Spiridigliozzi, his colleague Peter Filato and his company, Courtier d’assurance-crédit Berman-Cast Inc., pleaded guilty to 21 charges related to operating without a proper permit for a total of $63,000 in fines.

Spiridigliozzi, currently the EMSB commissioner for St. Leonard, was elected chairperson of the board in 2003.

After the charges against him were made in July 2012, at least one commissioner called on him to resign, saying it wasn’t appropriate behavior for a commissioner. Already on Wednesday, there were grumblings in the community about whether Spiridigliozzi should remain in office.

“There might be a moral obligation for him to resign,” said one person close to the scene. “Is he a role model for children?”

In 2005, Spiridigliozzi was criticized by union representatives for having four family members and his karate coach working for the EMSB while he was still chair.

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June 20, 2013

CJAD Teachers Panel Discusses Problems with Provincial Exams, Upcoming School Board Elections and Tips for Summer School

Teachers Catharine Hogan and Robert Green discuss problems with provincial exams, upcoming school board elections and tips for summer school:

Click here to listen

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June 10, 2013

Faced with cuts, school boards trim student services

By Janet Bagnall, Published June 7, 2013 by the Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL —  Like a stern headmistress, Education Minister Marie Malavoy warned the province’s school boards last December that on no account should they reduce direct services to students — even though she knew they were struggling to cope with $500 million in budget cuts.

The boards faced a limited number of choices: raise school taxes, never a popular move; find other places to cut; or go ahead and cut services to students, Johanne Pomerleau, president of the Fédération des professionnelles et professionnels de l’éducation du Québec, said on Friday. Unfortunately, the least palatable of the choices — cutting direct services to students — is precisely what some school boards have chosen to do, Pomerleau said

The federation recently surveyed a number of school boards to see what their plans are for the coming school year. Nine of the province’s 69 boards have already made, or will have made, cuts to specialized staff by August, the start of the 2013-14 school year, Pomerleau said. Specialized staff includes psychologists, speech therapists, social workers and guidance counsellors.

May 21, 2012

Forced Transfer and the MTA Hunger Games

By Jim Wilson

A recent book and movie blockbuster is the “The Hunger Games”. Its theme was that a few individuals of the lower orders could be sacrificed in order to satisfy the whims of the ruling class. Maybe the Montreal Teachers Association [MTA] has been influenced by this idea.

This notion of sacrificing the few can be found in the recently signed agreement between the English Montreal School Board [EMSB] and the MTA. Unfortunately the new development seems to have flown under the rank and file teachers’ radar. This new clause, ‘offered’ by the EMSB, and accepted by the MTA, is that  a teacher can be compulsorily transferred to another school “at the discretion of the board”.  This transfer would supposedly “replace a serious disciplinary measure”; hitherto, disciplinary issues were issued through formal actions, such as letters of warning, reprimand or suspensions. If the matter were serious, why not handle it formally, and allow due process to proceed? If there is a problem in one school, why is a move to another the solution? Is it a way of sweeping a problem under the rug?

For those familiar with union/board relations south of the border, these developments should be ringing an alarm for teachers. In a recent case in Washington D.C., an experienced and respected teacher encountered some inappropriate school practices and revealed that ineligible students were being given diplomas. He sinned again by producing anti-cheating material by having the same test rearranged on different pages, but this produced a complaint from the administrator that the teacher was creating an “expectation that the students would cheat”. The teacher found himself ‘involuntarily transferred’ to another school on the other side of town, due to ‘educational philosophical differences’

There is a nagging suspicious that this new agreement provides the board with a tool to intimidate any teachers, who, like their American colleague, would consider  voicing  genuine concerns about the operation of a school, or, for that matter, the board itself. Normally, a disciplinary action  produces a grievance, left to be settled by an arbitrator, but in the EMSB/MTA agreement, the compulsory transfer replaces disciplinary action. How can the union dispute the right for board to act in this arbitrary manner? The union agreed to it.  Given the size of the board, a teacher’s travel obligations and costs could be seriously affected by a transfer to a new school. Compulsory transfers are, ostensibly, punishments, which do little for the teacher, the new staff or the students.

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November 12, 2011

EMSB Commissioners off to China

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE EMSB COMMISSIONERS Bernie Praw, Frank Verrillo and Ellie Israel?

“Instead of attending the November council meeting and participating in ongoing public consultations on school closure, the three commissioners will be somewhere in China on a pricey 2-week junket from November 14 to December 1, as last minute additions to a delgation of EMSB administrators recruiting students for the board’s vocational services sector.

‘Montreal’s anglophone community (and especially the parents whose children attend schools in the EMSB network of schools) elected Council members Praw, Verrillo and Israel to represent them in Montreal, not Shanghai,’ commented EMSB commissioner Julien Feldman.”

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