|EMSB URGES GOVERNMENT TO INJECT MORE FUNDS INTO EDUCATION SYSTEM|
MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 29, 2015- While the English Montreal School Board Chairman Angela Mancini says she is pleased to learn that the Quebec government will reinvest $100 million into the education over the next two years, she emphasizes that it is hardly enough.
According to the announcement by government, the money will go to front-line services for schools and students from underprivileged backgrounds. “Over the last five years we have been drastically cut so this reinvestment in the education system announced by the Quebec government is not enough,” said Ms. Mancini. “Once again the Minister of Education is proposing a band aid solution rather than a concrete plan to make up for the $1billion that has been cut in education over the last few years. We have no idea the amount that it represents for our Board. Once again the Minister is disconnected from the realities of the school boards. He should be consulting with the school boards to gather information so that the monies can be earmarked for our specific needs. In our case that is special needs students.”
As for the 20 million being distribute to Quebec public school boards for the remainder of 2015-16, followed by another investment of $80 million in 2016-17, Ms. Mancini says, “we can't say specifically what we are going to do with our portion of the funds. We don't even know how much we will get nor have we received formal notice from the Ministry of Education,”
Ms. Mancini notes that at the EMSB the number of students with special needs has been increasing at a steady rate over the last few years. At last Wednesday evening’s meeting of the Council of Commissioners, there was an increase of $200,000 approved to provide extra support in classes across the system. “The EMSB Council makes every effort to ensure that the support services needed in our schools and classes are in place,” said Ms. Mancini. “And as we make these investments we are pleased to have the Ministry do the same.”
Last Wednesday the EMSB also invested more money in to programs aimed at providing early and intense learning support to students in Kindergarten and Cycles 1 and 2 in French and English reading and writing , such that they might later join mainstream classes.
“We share the Minister’s concerns about the importance of supporting early interventions in low socio-economic areas and we will continue to focus on teaching and learning supports in the areas,” said Ms. Mancini. “We also share as a priority drop-out prevention initiative in some of our high schools. We invest in supports for our most at-risk students and hope that any monies received will be enough to further our present investment. We look forward to receiving the specifics about the funding and funding rules. And while we do not have the regulations, nor do we have the amount to be allocated, what has been provided as a framework is very much in line with the EMSB's Strategic Plan that has ensured our 88 percent success rate.”
Michael J. Cohen