Quebec Minister plans to cut English school budgets’
As alarming as the size of the cuts is the move towards “school-based” management of purchasing and, more ominously, labour relations.
Minister plans to cut English school budgets; Quebec boards say there’s no ‘fat to cut’
By: Kevin Dougherty
English school boards in Quebec feel like they have had the “legs cut out underneath them” by Education Minister Line Beauchamp’s announcement to cut school board budgets across the province by 50 per cent, says Linton Garner, a delegate to the Quebec Liberal Party’s weekend convention.
Garner, who is Liberal president for the west end of Montreal and a consultant in education and community issues, said on Saturday that already Quebec’s nine English boards have cut their spending on administrative services to seven per cent of their total budget.
“So where is the fat to cut?” he asked. “What is going to happen is that direct services will be cut. “We are not wasting money within the English language school boards,” Garner said. “They have done what they have been asked to do.”
Garner raised the case for English boards in a workshop and he said he believes Beauchamp will be sensitive to his arguments.
Beauchamp declined to comment immediately, saying she wants the issue to be dealt with first in the plenary session of the convention before commenting.
Delegates are considering resolutions calling for the cuts, while granting more autonomy to school principals and holding board elections at the same time as municipal elections. Garner said granting principals more autonomy would be counterproductive in the English sector.
“We have a number of principals who are principals of two and three different schools because of their size,” he said, noting that one English school board, Eastern Shores, covering the Gaspé and Lower North Shore regions, “administers an area the size of Belgium.”
Beauchamp’s plan would off-load to school principals labour, purchasing and pedological duties, he said.
Garner added that the English boards play a fundamental role in Quebec in preserving English communities across the province. Ottawa Citizen
Sun Oct 23 2011
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