School service centers set up despite the pandemic

The shift in school governance is taking shape despite the upheavals caused by the pandemic. The majority (82%) of the boards of the new school service centers, born out of the abolition of elected commissioners, were put in place before the October 15 deadline, has learned The duty.

These data are taken from a survey conducted by the Federation of Quebec School Service Centers (FCSSQ) among its 61 members. Of 49 respondents, 40 had filled all the positions on the new boards. Those who have not finished have only a handful of members to nominate.

“We were apprehensive, given the context of the pandemic, but we are quite happy with the results,” said Jacky Tremblay, interim president and CEO of the FCSSQ.

These boards of directors were born out of Bill 40, passed in January under the gag order. This controversial law abolished school boards (and commissioners elected by universal suffrage) and replaced them with school service centers run by boards of 15 people from three groups: five parents, five school staff. schools and five community members. The chair and vice-chair of boards must be parents.

The first meetings of these boards are scheduled to take place this week, before October 23, says Jacky Tremblay. The meetings will be public, recalls the CEO of the FCSSQ.

“Acclimatization period”

Most boards are appointed, but are the directors ready? It is quite a challenge to administer organizations that oversee the hiring of staff, manage buildings (including maintenance, expansions and new construction) and school transportation, as well as child care and child care. distribution of pupils on the territory, in particular.

“There is going to be a period of acclimatization,” says Jacky Tremblay. They are new actors [du réseau de l’éducation]. There is the whole challenge of creating a group synergy. I am convinced that the boards of directors will find their rhythm and their methods to make the best decisions in the interest of the students. “

A training program for board members was produced by the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the National School of Public Administration. It will be distributed to service centers by mid-November, says Tremblay.

This transformation of school governance occurs by chance at a time of upheaval in the education network: schools closed their doors in mid-March due to the pandemic, and some (outside the greater Montreal area) opened in June. The school network must also manage health measures this fall, temporary closures of classes or schools due to outbreaks, distance education …

The establishment of the governing boards has been postponed due to this crisis. “It was an extremely difficult time [lors du printemps]. We drove during the day, at night and on weekends. It caused a lot of questioning in the network, but it seems to have been resolved, ”says Jacky Tremblay.

The board of directors of the Center de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM, the largest in Quebec) is also being set up, after a dispute between the Parents’ Committee and management over the appointment process. ” […] the Ministry of Education considers [comme] validates the designation of parent members to the CSSDM board of directors, such as[elle a été] carried out on September 29, ”said the Service Center.

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