Educating the public on school boards is key

What on Earth was Mario Dumont thinking when he proposed to call an election on the back of abolishing school boards? What would that solve? More importantly, who else would raise their hand to take over the tremendous job of co-ordinating our schools?

Obviously, Dumont, along with many parents and taxpayers, teachers among them, is poorly informed about the role, structure and duties of school boards.

The remedy is elementary, really.

The answer lies in education — educating the population on the role played by school commissioners and board administrators.

First of all, these people ensure that the regulations set out by Quebec’s Ministry of Education, Recreation and Sport are carried out. School boards hire teachers and staff, purchase books, count students, and make sure responsible people are in place to teach students and show them how to become good citizens.

Central Québec School Board’s new chair, Michelle Morin-Doyle, has the right idea: communication, especially with parents.

More funding has to go into explaining to everyone in the system how school boards function and what they need from us in order to do their job well.

They need participation — not only at voting time, but all year round.

At Central Québec, voter participation was higher than at many of its French counterparts, but it was still rather low.
Despite more concerted efforts, school boards and the government were not successful in attracting taxpayers’ attention.

School boards may be seen as not useful to Dumont, but they are very much the last toe-hold for the English-speaking community to help steer its educational institutions.

That’s why the association of chairs of Quebec’s nine English-speaking school boards is meeting this weekend to discuss the question of successfully explaining their role. The chairs will also work on a response to Dumont’s clamouring.

If we want to be informed about where our tax dollars go and what’s going down at our local schools, it is up to us to pay attention and to get involved. It is, after all, our democratic responsibility.