MONTREAL, Sept. 6, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ -
September 6, 2013
Madame Pauline Marois
835, boul. René-Lévesque Est, 3e étage
Québec (Québec) G1A 1B4
Madame la Première-ministre,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) I am writing to express my profound consternation over your public comments earlier this week suggesting that Quebec's school boards have dealt with on-going financial challenges to public education "…sur le dos des citoyens" (on the backs of citizens). Frankly, not only do your comments contradict those of your own Education Minister, they ignore the constant and unfailing efforts of school boards to shield our students and our classrooms, at every turn, from the impact of close to $500 million in government cuts to public education over the past three years.
We will eagerly take you at your word in suggesting, and we trust, promptly, "un petit rendez-vous" with Quebec's school board leadership. Like you, we take our obligations to account to the taxpayer very seriously, indeed. I can tell you that Quebec's nine English school boards will be pleased to collaborate with you, as we have with Mme Malavoy, on our continuing initiatives to limit administrative costs and to optimize the delivery of educational and complementary services to our students across Quebec. Reserving every shrinking dollar for those direct services has been our key priority and will continue to be so. That process is ongoing, and here are but a few examples:
- enhanced sharing of resources and services with neighboring school boards
- ententes on transportation and use of recreational facilities with municipalities
- vigilant and innovative management of collective agreements with our 13,000 administrators, teachers, professionals and support staff
- continuous improvement on evaluation, reporting and transparency procedures; and
- responsible reduction of administrative personnel, meeting and travel expenditures; our administrative costs, at roughly 4.8 per cent, remain the lowest of all public and para-public institutions in Quebec.
Madame la Première-ministre, your comments simply dismiss these efforts. I represent a universally elected level of government that is charged with a public duty that you have identified as a singularly essential priority - the education of our children. It is not our contention that school boards be shielded from criticism or scrutiny; we welcome it as vital to effective public school management. That said, QESBA trusts that, henceforth, it can count on the Première-ministre to set the example in a responsible and constructive fashion. We eagerly await the opportunity to discuss this with you further, and as soon as possible.
David C. D'Aoust
c.c. Members of the media
Leader of the Parti Libéral du Québec
Leader of the Coalition avenir Québec
SOURCE: Quebec English School Boards Association
For further information:
Director of Communications and Special Projects