|EMSB COUNCIL OF COMMISSIONERS ENCOURAGES GREATER PARENTAL PARTICIPATION|
MONTREAL, APRIL 18, 2016 - The decision taken by the EMSB Council of Commissioners in February grants EVERY elected parent delegate a democratic right to full membership on both their Regional Parents’ Committee and the Central Parents’ Committee. Now every delegate has the right to vote at the CPC. Previously, only a select few had that right.
At the January 2016 Council of Commissioners’ meeting, several Regional Parent delegates, represented by Carmie Lato from John F. Kennedey High School, asked that all parent delegates be given the right to vote at CPC. “We request that this board re-structure to only one parents’ committee, thus eliminating confusion, dysfunctionality and the divisiveness that the current model fosters … we want one parents’ committee – period," said Lato.
All Regional Parent delegates were invited by Chairman Mancini to express their views on this request at a meeting held on February 4 at John F. Kennedy High School. Thirty-seven out of 49 parent delegates attended the meeting. Several members of the Council of Commissioners, as well as several board directors, were also present. While some mentioned their concern about the timing and the dynamic of such a large committee, the vast majority agreed that every delegate should have a vote.
According to the Education Act, the school board has the right to replace the parents’ committee by Regional Parents’ Committees (RPCs) and by a Central Parents’ Committee (CPC). Since the Board has the right to create RPCs, it also has the power to determine the number of delegates from RPC to CPC. This model is also used by other school boards such as the CSDM.
“Parents voiced their concerns about the previous structure,” said Parent Commissioner Jason Trudeau. "There will still be Regional Parents’ Committees. That does not change. And parents who sit on CPC do not lose their voice. But those who were excluded previously, are now fully part of the democratic process.”
Joanne Charron, a parent commissioner representing the Advisory Committee on Special Education Services (ACSES), believes that having all parents on CPC makes the most sense. “By having one parents’ committee, the ACSES delegate will be exposed to the needs of every school community and every school community will have direct contact with the ACSES delegate," she said. "This actually broadens the scope for the ACSES delegate.”
“I would not have entertained this change to the parent committee structure had there not been significant support expressed by the parents themselves,” said EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. “This was a grassroots initiative. And the Council demonstrated its support for ALL parents and the fundamental democratic premise of: one school – one delegate – one vote.”
Michael J. Cohen