|EMSB CALLS FOR INCREASE IN SCHOOL BOARD FUNDING|
MONTREAL, MAY 30, 2001- The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Council of Commissioners has adopted a resolution, calling upon the Premier of Quebec, the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Education to increase school board funding.
School boards have experienced significant financial reductions over the course of many years. The EMSB notes that these budgetary compressions have made it exceedingly difficult to meet the educational needs of students in elementary, secondary and adult education and have resulted in a significant reduction in human resources in school boards over the years.
"This has impacted negatively on workload and recruitment at a time when needs, as well as expectations, have increased," states EMSB Chairman George Vathilakis. "Funding to school boards is not adequate to provide necessary services to support the increasing number of students with special needs nor is it sufficient to accomplish the capital projects urgently needed to maintain school buildings in an acceptable condition."
The EMSB points out that no provision has been made within funding parameters for the potential effect of the Cycle approach related to the new curriculum reform on instructional staffing levels. There has also been no announcement regarding the continuation of the five-year plan for the implementation of information technology in order to replace computer equipment and improve communication networks. Significant cost increases for natural gas and heating oil have also been inadequately financed through school tax revenues since 1998-1999.
Mr. Vathilakis also addressed the matter of transportation financing. The money allocated for this service is insufficient for school boards required to transport students dispersed over an extensive territory, or obliged to provide adapted transport for students to attend specialized institutions or special programs within the school board’s territory, or outside of that territory. The latter applies if such services are not available within their region.
Parents, meanwhile, have been obliged to absorb noon-hour supervision fees because school boards do not have the necessary funding to meet these expenses.
Michael J. Cohen