The abolition of schools, $100 million worth of tax cuts among causes for concern for Lester B. Pearson School Board chairman
The Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) announced $5,355,577.91 worth of repairs to be done on 16 of its learning establishments in the spring and summer at the council of commissioners meeting held last Monday. Photo François Lemieux.
The PQ government has ordered Quebec school boards to make 100 million in cuts over the next two years, but not before a committee of experts determine how exactly that will be done.
Although the cuts won’t directly affect the LBPSB, chairman Stein Day is worried about the impact it’ll have on the state of education in the province.
“It’s going to inevitably affect the classroom. It’s my personal fear, my fear that it’s going to be a disaster,” said Stein Day.
Education Minister Marie Malavoy told reporters last week the government spends roughly $8.4 billion in tax dollars annually to fund the academic side of the education system; school taxes pay for administrative costs like salaries.
The committee will be composed of managerial and financial experts and is expected to ramp upits findings sooner rather than later –without input from representatives of Quebec school boards.
“We want to be part of the expert committee to advise them, but we’re not part of the discussion. [Malavoy] wants it independent. I welcome them in my school boards. I think a lot of people are disappointed about it,” said Stein Day.
“…We would like to see it kick-off pretty quickly. We want to see as a collective ways to reduce expenses rather than give tax credits of $50 million and not at the expense of the children, they’re our future.”
It’s worth noting Malavoy approved tax hikes –as much as 30 per cent in certain areas of Quebec –earlier this year after the PQ government had already imposed $200 million in cuts –this after the 2013-14 budget allocated $1.1 billion toward program spending for various Quebec departments, $183 million of which was directed to the Ministry of Education.
As for the PQ’s lack of denial to speculation the committee will look into abolishing school boards in favour of regional councils, Stein Day added: “It will take functions of school boards and bring them behind closed doors and increase costs…You’re going to lose a lot school board efficiencies.”
The Chronicle’s request for an interview with a ministry of education official was never satisfied.