April 12, 2019 2:47 pm
Updated: April 12, 2019 6:02 pm

Quebec education minister says he ‘never proposed’ moving Galileo Adult Education Centre

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge says he wants to meet with the EMSB and Pointe de-L'Ile school board to see if there's a way to avoid moving students from the Galileo Adult Center. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, Roberge says the school was never on the list in the first place.

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Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge says he never proposed shutting down the Galileo Adult Education Centre in Montreal and transferring the building to a French-language school board.

His response comes after official opposition critic for education Marwah Rizqy questioned the possible relocation of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) school, which serves more than 140 students with special needs.

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“I understand that school boards are looking for space right now, but Galileo needs to be preserved,” she said on Thursday night at the Quebec legislature. “And every change is significant for those young adults who are already struggling.”

READ MORE: Parents protest plans to move Montreal’s Galileo Adult Education Centre

Roberge said when he contacted EMSB chairperson Angela Mancini by letter in March, he provided a list of possible suggestions to allow more space for the overcrowded Pointe-de-L’Île school board.

The letter included several options, including either sharing locales or transferring buildings of EMSB high schools in the north end of Montreal — but it never included Galileo.

“We never proposed it,” he said. “We never asked. That being said, these two school boards were asked to negotiate and I believed that was done in good faith.”

READ MORE: 2 Montreal adult education centres could face closure, says EMSB commissioner

The EMSB’s plan to move the adult education centre have been met with protests from students and parents. Many argue the possible relocation of the entire school to St. Pius X Career Centre in Ahuntsic would put students’ futures in jeopardy.

The education minister said he understands the transfer could be detrimental to students with special needs and that he will work to ensure Galileo is not closed down.

“Our only objective here is to ensure that all angles are evaluated to educate all young people, but also to protect the most vulnerable,” Roberge said.

WATCH: Galileo school community fights forced move

Roberge said there are other options to address overcrowding. He plans to meet with both the EMSB and the Pointe-de-L’Île school board.

“We will do everything we can to avoid this transfer,” he said.

Mancini said she appreciates the strong support from the education minister.

— With files from Global News’ Tim Sargeant

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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