Future of 3 EMSB schools on the line as deadline arrives
The deadline for the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) to propose ways to save three of its English schools is arriving and all involved say they are waiting desperately to see what will happen.
The Quebec government gave the EMSB until June 10 to come up with a space-sharing arrangement with the overcrowded French-language Pointe-de-l’île School Board (CSPI).
Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has been threatening to hand over Gerald McShane and General Vanier elementary schools, as well as John Paul I Junior High School to the French board.
The Galileo Adult Education Centre is also at risk.
WATCH BELOW: Parents desperate for answers over the transfer of English schools
The EMSB handed a brief over to Roberge Monday morning. The board is pushing for a cohabitation or a sharing model with its severely overcrowded French counterpart — something the CSPI has repeatedly rejected, saying it needs about 3,000 spots.
“We are now in a waiting game and anxiously awaiting what the minister will do next,” said EMSB chairperson Angela Mancini.
Mancini said it was difficult negotiating with the French board as they left the table a few weeks ago and never came back.
The French board told Global News it won’t comment until after the minister makes an announcement.
The uncertainty surrounding the future of the schools is making the end of the school year difficult for some students.
WATCH BELOW: EMSB must transfer 3 schools to French board
Close friends Jessica Rinaldi and Alessia Casale are both in Grade 7 at John Paul I Junior High School in Montreal’s Saint-Leonard borough.
“I am really nervous, I don’t want to move,” said Casale. “I am scared, what if I have to go to another school next year?”
It’s exam week for them, but they’re distracted.
“It’s very stressful because I feel like don’t have a school anymore and I don’t know what I am doing in September,” said Rinaldi.
Teacher Veronica De Ciccio has taught at John Paul I Junior High School for almost 20 years. The school is unique in that it’s one of the few middle schools in the EMSB.
“I don’t understand how our government could do this to the anglophone population. I am livid,” she said.
She’s also a parent to a special needs child in Grade 7.
WATCH BELOW: EMSB parents shocked after learning of possible school transfers
“We finally got him to a place where he is independent, he is happy to come to school. Knowing this might be ripped from him is traumatic for him,” De Ciccio said.
The EMSB said it is hoping for news from the minister before the next meeting on Wednesday.
“I am hoping the minister will give us a response rather quickly because I think the communities have a lot of anxiety attached to this,” Mancini said.
The minister’s office told Global News Roberge won’t make any announcements until the deadline passes, which is technically midnight Monday.
The EMSB is already looking ahead to its next move, which may see them end up in court.
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