Long-standing school board demand addressed - QESBA welcomes major infrastructure support for education sector



    MONTREAL, Oct. 22 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec English School Boards
Association (QESBA) welcomed this afternoon's government announcement of an
additional $283.5 million in building improvement and infrastructure money for
Quebec schools over the next five years. This amount, in equal annual
increments of $56.5 million, will be added to the annual investment of 
$431.9 million, already set in the previous budget.
    "The upgrading and improvement of our schools has been a long-standing
priority for QESBA and its member boards," noted President Marcus Tabachnick.
"Minister (of Education, Recreation and Sports) Michelle Courchesne and the
government have responded with a significant and positive announcement today.
These funds will go a long way towards ensuring that the students and staff of
our schools work and learn in quality facilities that are modern, comfortable
and quality learning environments."
    School boards across Quebec have been trying for years to address a
serious backlog in maintenance and upgrade projects, with the average age of
Quebec public schools being about 45 years old. The value of that backlog is
estimated to be in the order of $1.9 billion for all of Quebec's public
schools. In addition to the funds described above, the Minister today
announced financing that will effectively remove the backlog over a 15-year
period.
    School boards are receiving 63 per cent of the over-all expenditures for
education announced today. The remainder will go to Cegeps, universities and
agro-technology schools. A further $442 million across the education sector
has been reserved over the next five years, but details on that amount have
yet to be announced. The government has assured QESBA that the English school
sector will get its full proportional share of these funds. QESBA expects to
work closely with the Ministry to ensure that the funds are made available as
soon as possible, thus allowing school boards to effectively carry out their
building plans.
    "This announcement is not only important for Quebec education but for our
over-all economy," Tabachnick noted. "It will be essential that educators,
employers, municipalities and the construction industry work together on this
initiative to secure maximum benefit for Quebec taxpayers. "We're very pleased
the government is taking these steps today to make sure our schools are in the
best condition possible over the coming years."




For further information:

For further information: Kim Hamilton, Communications and Special
Projects Coordinator, (514) 849-5900, ext.: 225, (514) 919-3894


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