Quebec tables education reform bill, eliminates school board elections

QUEBEC CITY – The Quebec government has tabled an education reform bill at the National Assembly that would eliminate costly school board elections.

The government promised to do away with school board elections a year ago.

READ MORE: Quebec government passes bill to scrap school board byelections

At first, the Liberal Government said it would eliminate school boards all together; in this bill, that won’t happen.

Then the government said it would reduce the number of boards – that’s not happening either.

Instead, they’re eliminating school board elections.

Quebec Education Minister François Blais discusses the province’s education reform bill, Friday, December 4, 2015. Jean-Vincent Verville/Global News

The Couillard government said Bill 86 will give more power to the people at the who are closest to the students: parents and teachers.

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Instead of having school board councils made up of elected commissioners, the bill proposes they be made up of parents, staff and community members.

“These people should be at the centre of the decision process when it comes to issues that affect their children, the students in their schools and their region,” said Education Minister François Blais.

The councils will be made up of 16 members:

  • Six parents
  • Two principals
  • One teacher
  • One professional
  • Six people from the community

The new boards or councils will maintain responsibility for administrative issues like bussing and educational services.

WATCH: Global Montreal’s Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard speaks to Andrew Ross of the EMSB’s Parents Committee about what the province’s education reform means for families.

Despite opposition from the Education Minister, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) fought to hold a byelection to replace the late Syd Wise, a long time commissioner at the school board.

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WATCH: Quebec school boards fight for survival

It was scheduled for Dec. 13, but now it’s unclear when it will take place.

“Who is going to appoint whom? Who is going to be the overseer?” asked Bernard Praw, a candidate in the EMSB byelection.

“The government? We don’t want these decision to appointment. Who is going to run things at the school board? The cities? Have you seen our streets lately?”

READ MORE: No more school board elections, says Blais

None of the province’s 72 school boards will be cut or merged, but they will be encouraged to share resources.

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