A Home and School (H&S) organization can be a good thing.
A private organization may offer its members all sorts of discounts and benefits, such as discounts to COSTCO, or to other private stakeholders. Such discounts are fine, outside of the school context.
Public schools, however, are public institutions funded by all taxpayers. They shall provide equality of opportunity to all students. So, let’s keep membership privileges such as discounts out of the school zone. (I mean, yes, you can still offer discounts to COSTCO or CINEPLEX or whatever, outside of the school.)
My problem is with the notion that private organizations, like the H&S, can come into our schools and offer children whose parents are members of the H&S discounts on school lunches, events and activities at school, or when these private organizations hand out freebies like snacks or free library stickers at the school, during the day, but only to children whose parents are members of the H&S. I believe that this compromises the school mission and sets a bad example for our children. Worse is that some LBPSB principals and staff approve of and promote these practices.
If you were hosting a kid’s lunch, would you intentionally offer lower quality food to kids whose parents were not members of the H&S, or only offer the treasured dessert to those kids whose parents were members of the H&S? In your home, this would simply be a private matter of good or poor taste. In a public institution, it is compromising the school mission and the interests of the child. It is price discrimination in a public institution based on a child’s parents’ membership in a private organization.
Think about the message that those LBPSB schools engaged in these practices are sending to all the children. Put yourself in the shoes of the seven-year old who doesn’t get the free sticker because his parents haven’t joined the H&S, or the five children per class who always get the freebies in school and can then lord it over the other kids.
Think about this price discrimination as a precedent for the future of public schools.
The author’s commitment and care show through her letter. Alas, her letter also reveals that she may have difficulties distinguishing between the interests of a private organization and the direct best interests of the child or public.
As the trending saying goes… Just because you do good in the morning, doesn’t mean that you can do bad in the afternoon. The world just doesn’t work that way!
The ethics inquiry into the Chairman of the LBPSB is not about whether the H&S is a good or bad organization, it is about the Chairman’s conflict of interest in sorting out these and other issues related to H&S operations in LBPSB schools, while being both an executive member of the QFHSA and Chairman of the LBPSB Council.
The ethics inquiry is not politically motivated; it is about civics, democracy, our laws, and the future of public education.
The price discrimination issue is, for me personally, the straw that broke the camel’s back. And, for what it’s worth, I have been a member of the H&S.
The idea behind the H&S is excellent and a lot of parents do good volunteering. A home and school must, nevertheless, respect the law and the rights of all parents in the school. The problem is when things are done behind closed doors.
1. AS TAXPAYERS, WE ALL PAY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL. Public schools are public institutions which are required to provide equality of opportunity to all students. You cannot discriminate against any student based on their family belonging to a political party, organization, race or religion.
2. IT MAY INDEED BE THAT YOUR H&S FOLLOWS ALL LAWS. IF SO, LUCKY YOU AND CONGRATS TO AN EFFECTIVE SCHOOL MANAGEMENT TEAM. BUT, ask yourself?
a) Does your H&S take care of contracts for the school, ie., afterschool activities, etc…, do they include a fee for themselves (eg., 10, 15 or 20%) for organizing after-school contracts?
And, do they hide this from parents?
Is the Governing Board required to vote on contracts without knowing their value?
b) Does your H&S have a constitution, ie., is it a member in ‘good standing’ of the QFHSA? Does it disclose how it spends funds raised at the school?
c) Does your H&S consist of non-school-parents, which then vote on how the school should be run?
d) Does your H&S collect the names of ALL school volunteers and then claim that the list of school volunteers is their private property and cannot be used by the Governing Board or other legitimate parent committees?
e) Does your H&S stop any other parent organization from organizing after school activities at lower prices, or bringing in after-school tutors at group discount rates?
f) Does your H&S vote against having a Parent Participation Organization? Why, if they want parent representation in schools?
IT MAY BE THAT YOU ARE LUCKY TO HAVE A LEGIT H&S ORGANIZATION AT YOUR SCHOOL THAT RESPECTS THE LAWS.
WHY CAN’T ALL PARENTS BE ENTITLED TO LEGIT H&S ORGANIZATIONS?
Ethics no longer defined by what’s right or wrong, but what you can get away with By Peggy Curran, The Gazette
Oh, that rascal Claude Castonguay. So old school.
Castonguay, the 85-year-old former Quebec Liberal health minister generally regarded as the pioneer of medicare in this province, is outraged to discover that Yves Bolduc, a current Quebec Liberal cabinet minister and himself a former health minister, found a way to work the system to his financial advantage.
Not to be rude, but where has this eminence grise of public service been for the last 40 years? Or even three, for that matter? Does Castonguay not read the papers or watch TV?
Clearly he has not grasped what has been one of the cardinal rules of our society, the motto of mob-ruled contractors and moonlighting politicians alike.
Ethics is not defined by right and wrong. Ethics is defined by what you can get away with, what you have decided you are entitled to, whatever the evidence or perception to the contrary.
Management and employees at Bixi were awarded $223,000 in salary bonuses last December, even though bosses were well aware Montreal’s bike-sharing program was in trouble and lurching toward bankruptcy protection.
Montreal’s transit authority doled out wage hikes of up to 6.5 per cent to top brass last year, even as the Société de transport de Montréal was cutting bus service and paring back on métro cleaning to trim $65 million from its budget.
By no means is this moral quandary strictly a made-in-Quebec problem.
Corporate bosses around the world routinely give themselves bountiful perks for cost-cutting initiatives that make shareholders happy at the expense of quality, jobs and working conditions. Last summer’s fatal derailment in Lac-Mégantic was at least partly the result of a Chicago-based railway’s decision to introduce one-man crews, putting its bottom line above environmental protection or the safety of people.
Then there’s Toronto’s erstwhile Mayor Rob Ford, living proof that there isn’t enough rehab in the world to change a personality. Jerks will be jerks, with or without the drunken stupor. That doesn’t mean they aren’t clever enough to draw their own invisible line, which for Ford was to drink heavily at city hall and do drugs elsewhere.
Yes, shame is pretty much extinct these days, at least until you get caught doing something which is actually illegal and proven to be so in court. Which given the current backlog in the Quebec justice system can take years and cost more than the state can ever hope to recover.
There is no evidence that Bolduc broke the law his department crafted, even if, as Castonguay put it in a scathing letter calling for his dismissal, he “sought the maximum while giving the minimum, both as an MNA and a doctor.”
Rather, it appears Bolduc exploited the policy to the letter, without regard for how it would appear, or whether this would be the best remedy for the patients in his bulging halftime practice.
Bolduc was all over the airwaves Tuesday, welling up as he explained how he made the most of the bonus program that he had put in place to help trim the waiting list for family physicians.
A good deed which just happened to bring in an extra $215,000, on top of the roughly $150,000 he collected for actually seeing patients during gaps in his schedule as a member of the Liberal opposition in the National Assembly, for which he earned $89,950.
“I am a doctor before I am a politician,” Bolduc said, explaining that he took some of those 1,500 additional patients at the urging of family members desperate to get help for an ailing relative. Bolduc said he put in between 20 and 30 hours a week at his medical practice in the 18 months between elections. “I had the right to charge for this salary, and I did.”
How was he to know the next election would come so quickly, he asked. Well, as an experienced politician in a minority government, he should have known an early election was a safe guess — even if the Liberals’ majority victory put him back in cabinet sooner than he imagined.
Castonguay now wants Philippe Couillard to dump Bolduc as education minister, saying his actions are a blot on the Liberal premier’s vow to run a tight, clean ship.
Bolduc insists he’s not going anywhere, that the bonus scheme allowed the government to slash 750,000 names from the waiting lists for a family doctor in Quebec.
When Yves Bolduc the health minister introduced the plan, did he really think the best way to ensure every Quebecer had access to a GP was by introducing the kind of speedy cookie cutter treatment one might expect from Yves Bolduc the part-time doctor with too many files on his desk?
Maybe yes, maybe no. What did it matter? After all, he was entitled.
Le 23 juin 2014, lors de la rencontre du conseil des commissaires de la Commission scolaire Lester B. Pearson, une demande d’enquête sur des comportements, de la Présidente Suanne Stein Day, susceptibles d’être dérogatoires au Code d’éthique de la commission scolaire et à la Loi sur l’instruction publique, a été présentée aux membres du conseil et au directeur général de la commission scolaire M. Robert T. Mills par trois citoyens.
Les allégations portent sur un conflit d’intérêts potentiel. La peine encourue par le contrevenant pour ce type d’infraction peut aller à la déchéance de sa charge pour une durée de 5 ans. Les citoyens réclament la démission de la Présidente ou l’imposition de sanctions.
At the Lester B. Pearson School Board Council meeting of June 23rd, 2014, Cindy Mac Donald on behalf of other tax payers presented the LBPSB council with a request calling for the LBPSB Chairman to resign, be dismissed or forfeiture of office. Mrs. Stein Day did not resign. The issue now will be presented to the ethics commissioner.
As per the LBPSB Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct Applicable for the Conduct of Commissioners, http://www.lbpsb.qc.ca/francais/pdf/code_of_ethics.pdf, on behalf of the parents and taxpayers, and in the name of democracy, the respect of law, and transparent school governance, we ask that the Lester B Pearson School Board Council and the Director General of the LBPSB, take whatever action necessary to initiate and conduct an Ethics inquiry into the Chairman Mme Suanne Stein Day.
We call for her resignation, dismissal or forfeiture of office.
Given the upcoming school elections and the overwhelming examples of Mme Suanne Stein Day’s Conflict of Interest and failure to comply with the LBPSB Code of Ethics, we ask that this inquiry be conducted as soon as possible.
Attached please find our submission on a subset of Mme Stein Day’s repeated violations of the Code and the Education Act.
Our concerns and objections are expressed in terms of Mme Suanne Stein Day’s role as chairman of the Lester B. Pearson School Board and in no manner must they be interpreted as a criticism of Mme Suanne Stein Day the private citizen.
Cindy Mac Donald
2. Conflict of Interest of the Chairman of the LBPSB (all attachments to be forwarded electronically to a representative identified by the Council.)
Editor’s note: In a subsequent development the chairman barked at Mrs Cindy MacDonald “to sit down” while she was speaking to Mrs. Mac Donald during the still open question period. It is common courtesy for the questioner to stand while being addressed. Barking commands to the public audience during an open mike question period is not a proper example to set in front of student representatives attending the meeting or for that manner, anyone else.
The autocratic actions of chairman Stein Day to stop public questioners in mid presentation during question period and have them escorted out by security personnel is a disgrace. Chairman Stein Days actions of the last few months, as recorded, tarnishes the reputation of the LBPSB and might dissuade any International students from attending the LBPSB.
Les commissions scolaires devront fusionner entre elles ou fusionner certains services pour réduire leurs dépenses administratives, croit le ministre de l’Éducation Yves Bolduc.
«Il faut qu’elles s’asseoient ensemble pour examiner la fusion de certains services comme les ressources humaines et la paye. Il y a quelques commissions scolaires qui auraient avantage à se regrouper», a suggéré M.Bolduc à l’Assemblée nationale. Les dépenses administratives des commissions scolaires occupent en moyenne 5% de leurs budgets ce qui est bien en-deça des autres organisations publiques, a reconnu le ministre. «Il y a encore quelques faibles gains à faire», a-t-il précisé à l’occasion de l’étude des crédits de son ministère.
Le gouvernement Marois avait dit espérer économiser 125 millions en fusionnant des commissions scolaires. Yves Bolduc rétorque que les économies ne seraient pas automatiques. «Il y a des endroits où il n’y a pas d’économie possible. Par exemple en Gaspésie, si vous fusionner avec un autre territoire dont la clientèle est dispersée il n’y aura pas d’économie». Le gouvernement Couillard n’entend pas forcer les commissions scolaires à fusionner, a précisé Yves Bolduc.
La Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec a fait savoir qu’aucune discussion n’avait cours pour des fusions ou des regroupements de services.
Quant aux écarts observés d’une commission scolaire à l’autres, tel que rapporté par Le Journal dans sa livraison de jeudi, M. Bolduc les explique par certaines réalités comme les vastes territoires pour certaines commissions scolaire ou encore par des clientèles particulières. «par exemple, à la Commission scolaire de Montréal, il y a beaucoup d’immigrants, beaucoup d’enfants en difficultés et de l’appauvrissement, ça demande plus de mesures de soutient.»
Quant à la taxation scolaires, Yves Bolduc a rappelé que les comptes de taxes augmenteront en fonction de l’augmentation de la valeur des propriétés, particulièrement pour 26 commissions scolaires frappées par l’élimination d’un programme de péréquation qui visait à freiner les hausses de taxes. «Si votre maison augmente ça fait plus de valeur. Si votre maison prend 200 000$ de plus et qu’une autre en prend 10 000, votre maison vaut plus cher, théoriquement vous avec plus les moyens de la garder», a précisé M. Bolduc.
À quelques jours de la fin des classes, le couperet s’abat sur les commissions scolaires qui verront leurs budgets amputés de plus de 200 millions sur décision du ministère de l’Éducation.
La commission scolaire des Premières seigneuries (CSPS) devra retrancher 8,8 millions de son budget l’an prochain. De cette somme, 4,7 millions devra être comblé par des hausses de taxes, a signifié le secrétaire général de la commission scolaire, Jean-François Parent. Depuis 2010-2011, les coupes imposées à la CSPS atteignent 24,5 millions.
Une autre ponction de 4,6 millions est attendue en 2015-2016 en raison de la disparition de la dernière tranche d’un programme de péréquation qui visait à empêcher les hausses de taxes. «Ça va nous amener à des coupes cumulatives de 29,1 millions, c’est 10 % de notre budget. C’est beaucoup d’argent», a dit M. Parent, qui ne peut préciser de combien les taxes seront majorées.
La commission scolaire de la Capitale devra pour sa part absorber des coupes de 7,7 millions dont 2,7 millions auront une incidence directe sur les comptes de taxes. Depuis quatre ans, le ministère de l’Éducation a soustrait 19,7 millions au budget de cette commissions scolaire de Québec où la clientèle est pourtant en augmentation (500 élèves l’an prochain).
Appui à la réussite coupé
Dans les règles budgétaires transmises aux commissions scolaires vendredi, le ministère de l’Éducation leur suggère de couper dans les «mesures d’appui à la réussite». La commission scolaire des Découvreurs annonce que les services aux élèves seront touchés. «On n’a plus aucune marge de manoeuvre», a confessé le président de la CSDD, Alain Fortier, en entrevue.
La direction de la commission scolaire vient d’apprendre que le ministère de l’Éducation (MELS) prévoit réduire son allocation de 2,8 millions l’an prochain. «Cette coupe va directement mettre en péril les services aux élèves», prévoit le président.
L’an dernier, la CSDD avait notamment reçu une enveloppe de 2,2 millions pour des mesures d’appui à la réussite scolaire. Un montant de un million sera soustrait l’an prochain. L’aide aux devoirs pourrait passer à la trappe dans certaines écoles, a signifié le président. Déficit
Les coupes imposées au cours des dernières années ont forcé la commission scolaire des Découvreurs à réduire puis à éliminer sa provision annuelle de 500 000 pour imprévus. «Nous allons adopter un budget équilibré mais je n’ai pas hâte de voir le compte d’électricité de l’hiver dernier», a dit Alain Fortier. Une dépense imprévue en cours d’année, un toit qui coule ou un arrivage de nouveaux élèves en cours d’année et le budget sera en déficit, entrevoit le président.
Dans le Bas-Saint-Laurent, la commission scolaire des Phares est parvenue à réduire son déficit de 2,2 à 1,6 million cette année. Une compression supplémentaire de 1,3 million empêchera le retour à l’équilibre l’an prochain. «On se creuse la tête, on ne pourra pas répondre à ça», prévient le directeur général Jean-François Parent.
Selon CTV news des parents d’une école anglophone, Royal Vale, remettent en question les frais chargés aux parents pour les activités parascolaires. Ces frais passeront de 975$ par année à 1245$. Les membres du conseil d’établissement s’interrogent sur les motifs derrière cette hausse. Il importe ici de rappeler que l’école Royal Vale est un établissement […]
In what can only be described as intentional bureaucratic obfuscation within the education “Industry” , one place to start to get information is in the various registries. Please find below the 2013 Registered Charity Information Return for L’ASSOCIATION FOYERS-ECOLES ROYAL VALE HOME AND SCHOOL ASSOCIATION
The “Royal Vale” Home and School Association is likely a member of the QFHSA, http://www.qfhsa.org/, which is a registered charitable organization. Registered with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). QFHSA business number is 119106904RR0001.
Charitable organizations are not supposed to be political or offer/subcontract school services. Collusion between school boards and QFHSA is rampant in Montreal area and has resulted in higher prices for activities and, more than 50 fundraisers per year at some English public schools.
QFHSA is renown for flaunting the law. Not disclosing that it is a charitable organization, it presents itself as a volunteer parent network. Then, it runs for election as a Parent Participation Organization (PPO), as defined under the Quebec Education Act and is typically involved in an opaque network of school contracts.
The scope of this activity at the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) is enormous. There has been a conflict of interest at the LBPSB for years; the Chairman of LBPSB was an executive member of the QFHSA for years. H&S has tried to do several illegal things at LBPSB.
I have made formal complaints to LBPSB, MELS and to the Protecteur du Citoyen in Quebec. The LBPSB was forced to stop its schools from allowing the QFHSA to price discriminate against students whose parents were not QFHSA members, ie., QFHSA and its associates charged elementary school children whose parents were not members of the QFHSA extra to attend school Halloween, Xmas parties. They even wanted to charge non QFHSA kids higher prices for pizza lunches than QFHSA kids.
See http://acdsa.org/?p=2315 for background (or, www.acdsa and search “An Open Letter to Justice Charbonneau in Regards to Lack of REAL Transparency at the Lester B. Pearson School Board. (LBPSB)”
I currently have several Quebec access to information (CAI) requests being processed. One is on service contracts for a LBPSB school. One court hearing has been held; a second to follow up on the judge’s instruction to LBPSB is soon to be scheduled.
The LBPSB is unable to provide any contracts but 1 for all school services offered at a LBPSB school for a period of 3 years. Several of these services have been brokered, contracted or managed by the QFHSA while parents as well as school Governing Board members are not allowed to have any info on such agreements.
There is lots of fishy stuff going on. I estimated that QFHSA raises over $1.2 million per year in fundraising at LBPSB schools alone, without being able to explain how these funds were used, or without declaring them. Who knows what kickbacks they get for school service contracts which they are not suppose to (as a charitable organization) broker?
I have lots of info and documentation on QFHSA and how they, in cooperation with school boards, LBPSB in particular, mislead parents and tax payers.
Media should really follow this up!
Do not hesitate to contact me for more info. Cindy