June 26, 2019 4:23 pm
Updated: June 26, 2019 8:08 pm

Quebec education minister has made a decision on school transfers but won’t reveal plan

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge responds to the opposition during question period Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge says he has made a decision over school transfers, but he won’t reveal publicly reveal it until English Montreal School Board (EMSB) parents learn the details.

“A decision has been made but we will communicate directly with parents,” he said. “It’s a question of respect.”

“Last time the EMSB did communicate through the media and parents learned about some decisions through the media and they were shocked and we don’t want to do the same.”

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READ MORE: Police called to EMSB special meeting after parents express anger, frustration at board announcement

The EMSB has been scrambling to come up with an alternative proposal amid the forced transfers of three of its schools to an overcrowded French-language board.

Under the ministry’s plan, Gerald McShane Elementary School, General Vanier Elementary School and John Paul I Junior High School are being handed over to the Pointe-de-l’Île school board. The French-language board is in dire need of space to accommodate nearly 3,000 students.

However, when Roberge was asked about his pending communication with EMSB parents, he remained tight-lipped on details and would not say if that is still the education ministry’s plan.

“I said we took a decision about those three schools but I won’t say to you if we decided to transfer three schools, one school or no school,” he said. “They will learn it through a letter directly from me to them.”

READ MORE: English Montreal School Board won’t rule out legal action amid forced school transfers

Parents of EMSB students can expect to receive a letter in the coming days, he added. However some parents say they are tired of waiting for an answer about their childrens’ future.

Nathalie Carrier, the parent of a student at Gerald McShane Elementary, said Roberge’s plan is “just prolonging the agony.”

“It’s unacceptable,” she said.

The school board’s council of commissioners is holding a special board meeting on Wednesday evening at which school closures will be discussed.

EMSB chairperson Angela Mancini said she understands that Roberge wants to speak directly to parents, but she argues that isn’t the best approach.

“What he says is respect, I say is a lack of sensitivity to the fact that a school board and a school is more than just the parents,” she said. “There are students and teachers and staff involved.”

“And I think it was incumbent upon him to communicate with us to give us the opportunity to communicate with our own stakeholders.”

WATCH BELOW: Montreal police called to EMSB meeting

— With files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez

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

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