March 9, 2016 8:35 pm
Updated: March 10, 2016 6:43 am

QESBA ‘optimistic’ after Bill 86 hearings

WATCH ABOVE: The Quebec English School Board Association made its voice heard at the hearings for Bill 86, the legislation that aims to reform school boards in the province. Global's Raquel Fletcher reports.


QUEBEC CITY – The battle over proposed school board reform took a civil turn Wednesday.

The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) made it clear it will take the government to court if the legislation is not amended, but after a surprising outcome at National Assembly hearings Wednesday afternoon, it appears they might not have to go that far.

For the first time since this legislation was tabled, QESBA said it is “optimistic.”

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READ MORE: More English voices need to be heard at Bill 86 hearings, says QCGN

“We’re very happy that the minister has certainly expressed an openness to sit down with us, to listen to us so that we can move forward with the same goals in mind,” said Jennifer Maccarone, QESBA president.

Bill 86 would reform school boards and get rid of elected commissioners.

“I think our message is very clear and has been very clear from the beginning,” Maccarone said.

“Bill 86 does nothing to support student success and that is our main preoccupation.”

Education Minister Sébastien Proulx congratulated Maccarone for an 85 per cent student success rate in the nine English school boards and asked her to explain the formula.

READ MORE: After delays, Quebec school board reform hearings start again

“It’s convoluted because there’s nothing in that bill that speaks to student success,” said Maccarone.

“The words “student success” appear nowhere in the 56 pages of this bill.”

Her presentation seems to have convinced the opposition.

“They are asking the committee to put the bill in the trash, so we agree that it just doesn’t make sense as it is written right now,” said Alexandre Cloutier, Parti Québécois education critic.

Interaction with the minister was collegial and at times, surprisingly jovial, but Proulx made no indication that the government will scrap the controversial bill entirely.

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