EMSB Responds To Ministry of Education Report - Which It Has Never Seen
Today’s leak of an excerpt of a September report prepared by officials of the Ministry of Education on the eve of committee hearings on Bill 40 - the draft legislation to abolish school boards, is another example of the CAQ government’s concerted campaign to discredit the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) for political reasons, says a statement issued by the Council of Commissioners.
Even though the Minister has had this report since early September and has released its conclusions and recommendations, neither he nor his investigators have shared it with the EMSB. The school board has never had the opportunity to review the allegations nor to provide feedback and context. Minister Jean-François Roberge, nonetheless, has cited this report as justification for his threat of placing the EMSB in partial or full trusteeship.
The EMSB manages its $350 million dollar annual budget in a fiscally responsible manner. It has almost $83 million in surplus monies, and annually the Board appropriates the full 15 percent permitted by budgetary rules. This year alone, over $7 million was reinvested back into the EMSB – and much of that surplus money was for additional education services with a direct benefit to schools and students. But in lieu of focusing on the many advantages that the EMSB is providing to its schools, the CAQ is placing emphasis on a stellar professional development session out of the province and a few expenses including a retirement gift for someone who had dedicated 40 years of service to English public education.
This is nothing more than a petty attempt to malign the EMSB - which has the highest student success rate among public school boards in the entire province, at 92.4 percent; and it sheds light upon the vindictive nature of the CAQ government, which is likely upset with the EMSB for taking them to court in an effort to protect the constitutional rights of the English-speaking minority.
The EMSB calls upon Minister Roberge to stop leaking tidbits of his report and provide the Board with a full copy immediately - with ample time for us to provide feedback which should then be incorporated into the final report. Minister Roberge and his colleagues should also refrain from commenting further on the report until this process is completed.
In conclusion, the EMSB urges Minister Roberge and the CAQ government to conduct themselves responsibly and to abandon their short-sighted politically-motivated agenda in favour of a fair and transparent process.