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English Montreal School Board votes to launch Major School Change consultation

EMSB votes to launch Major School Change Consultation. Wednesday June 26, 2019.
EMSB votes to launch Major School Change Consultation. Wednesday June 26, 2019. Global News / File Photo

The EMSB says they are committed to help relieve the French system’s overcrowding issues, but says it will do it on its own terms by launching a Major School Change Consultation.

The process will look into what schools to consolidate and which ones they can close in order to identify buildings they can hand over to the Pointe-de-l’île board (CSPI).

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

The EMSB’s Long Range Planning Committee has presented several possible scenarios.

“None of these scenarios have to go forward, they are just suggestions,” said Anne-Marie Matheson, the board’s director-general.

The scenarios include consolidating the network of schools in Saint-Léonard from six buildings to four. That could mean that John Paul I Junior High moves to Laurier Macdonald High School, becoming a new school. Or both schools could cohabitate in one building so one facility can be handed over to the CSPI.

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WATCH BELOW: Montreal police called to EMSB meeting

Montreal police called to EMSB meeting
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Another possibility mentioned was that General Vanier and Dante Elementary Schools are merged, or that General Vanier merges with Pierre de Coubertin and moves into its facility.

As for Gerald McShane, located in Montreal North, the committee recommended the school stay open in order to keep a footprint in the area.

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

Also in Montreal North, the building housing the Lester B. Pearson High School could be transferred to the CSPI while the high school is moved to a new facility the board would have to build.

According to the EMSB, the Lester B. Pearson high school building has a $90 million replacement value, one of the highest on the board.

Matheson explained that school communities can come up with their own suggestions.

All proposals will be submitted to consultations that are expected to last until mid-December. Briefs will then be submitted to the administration for council to review.

WATCH: EMSB parents and students form human chain around 7 schools

EMSB parents and students hold protest over school transfers
EMSB parents and students hold protest over school transfers

In early January, there will be hearings in order for those who filed briefings to give feedback.

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The board will come up with a decision by Jan.30 2020.

“They’re about six months too late,” said Jason Trudeau, a parent at General Vanier Elementary. “All this type of conversation was what parents were looking for in January when this whole process started.”

However the EMSB is still waiting to hear the minister’s decision on the possible transfer of Gerald McShane Elementary, General Vanier Elementary and John Paul I high school.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said on Wednesday that although he had reached a decision on the matter, he would be communicating with the parents directly through a letter “in the next few days.”

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