Impact of Quebec budget on public education: QESBA satisified system costs protected, encouraged by support French teaching, vocational and adult education

    QUEBEC CITY, March 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec English School Boards
Association (QESBA) expressed qualified satisfaction with the budget deposited
by Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget in the National Assembly this
afternoon. "At a time that clearly demands fiscal restraint, QESBA is
satisfied that this government has demonstrated the good sense to protect the
basic costs of our public education system," noted QESBA President Debbie
Horrocks. System funding to Quebec's school boards will, in fact, go up from
$6.17 billion last year to $6.38 billion for the 2008-2009 school year - an
increase of 3.4 per cent. Horrocks explained QESBA's qualified reaction,
underlining that the full impact of the budget on our students, schools and
staff will only be evident with the deposit of the spending estimates and the
accompanying budget rules and parameters in the coming weeks.
    QESBA does react positively to a series of measures that auger well for
key priority areas such as the teaching of French, vocational and adult
education. The additional funds should deliver an estimated $8.7 million in
new financial support to our English public school network. Horrocks noted
QESBA's particular interest in the emphasis on French teaching. "Our schools
continue to place an extremely high priority on ensuring that our students
graduate with the highest possible proficiency in French as well as English.
QESBA has received assurances that our French second-language programs will
fully benefit from the new measures announced in today's budget."
    On vocational education, QESBA's member boards continue to work together
to harmonize their efforts to modernize and expand vocational education
programs for students across the English sector. Additional support from
Quebec is particularly significant, given the need to encourage increased
enrolment in these programs and to respond to pressing labor market shortages
in Quebec. "Our English school boards are eager to participate fully in
attacking these challenges," Horrocks noted. On adult education, QESBA joins
all education partners in expanding efforts to address the growing phenomenon
of life-long learning. Changing career paths, new and flexible work
environments are prompting adults of all ages to continue studying. The
enhanced budget support for adult education curriculum development reflects
that reality, Horrocks added.
    Finally, QESBA applauded the creation of a $400 million fund over
10 years to foster the development and education of children under five living
in poverty. This fund is made possible by a donation covering close to
two-thirds of that amount from the Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon. QESBA has
been at the forefront of promoting early childhood development and education,
and looks forward to receiving details of this progressive initiative.

    QESBA is the voice of English public education in Quebec. Its nine member
boards serve some 110,000 students in elementary and high schools, adult and
vocational centres across Quebec.

For further information:

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

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Quebec English School Boards Association

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