Les Fédérations des commissions scolaires

Les Fédérations des directions d’établissement d’enseignement

Les Syndicats

EMSB COMMISSIONERS REQUESTING IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION BY MINISTER OF EDUCATION

PRESS RELEASE – English Montreal School Board

MONTREAL – July 3, 2015 – English school board opposition members, Commissioners Agostino Cannavino and Julien Feldman will be holding a media briefing at 12 noon on Friday, July 3, at school board offices at 6000 Fielding Ave.

During a vote at the council of commissioners meeting held Wednesday to appoint a new chief executive replacing longtime director general, Mr. Robert Stocker, chairman Angela Mancini declared a conflict of interest arising from the appointment of her own political organizer to the position.

In light of new information, the opposition members will raise additional concerns relating to the legal validity of votes cast by commissioners elected as members of Team Angela Mancini.

The opposition will call on Education minister Francois Blais to independently review the chairman’s hiring process and to examine the validity of the vote culminating in Wednesday’s appointment.

Mr. Cannavino represents Ward 6 (Ahuntsic, Plateau Mont-Royal & St-Michel) and Mr. Feldman represents Ward 3 (Westmount, Ville-Marie & Sud-Ouest);

Agostino Cannavino

Julien Feldman

Cronyism Returns to the EMSB

Cronyism Returns to the EMSB

Our fear, when we first put pen to paper two weeks ago, was that the current actions of this Council augured a return to the suspected cronyism of past years. Our fears were confirmed immediately following the conclusion of a “special” Council of Commissioners meeting scheduled on June 30th, the very last day of the school year. The Mancini majority, by a vote of 6 -3 -0 named Ms Anne Marie Matheson, a high school principal in the Lester B. Pearson School Board for the past two years, a former EMSB commissioner on the Mancini team from 2011-2014, as well as being Ms Mancini’s chauffeur and campaign strategist in the most recent school board elections, as the new Director General.   What is also suspicious is that the minimum requirement for a candidate to occupy this post was lowered for this posting from five years in a “senior” management position to simply five years in a management position.

As taxpayers and former commissioners of the English Montreal School Board, we are extremely concerned by some of the decisions that have been made by the current Council of Commissioners, namely the acceptance of the “stepping down” of the Director General, Robert Stocker, and his reassignment for another year as a “conseiller cadre”, as well as the demotion without cause of the senior Deputy Director General, Ms Roma Medwid, a person who held that position with exemplary success for the past five years. Both the former DG and DDG will continue to be paid their hors cadres salaries, even while performing “other” tasks at a cost to the taxpayer of more than $300,000 per year. One can only speculate as to the motives behind these moves, especially at a time when the Government has imposed severe budget cuts in the education sector and the Minister of Education is calling for the abolition of school board elections.

It is important to note that scarcely two years ago the organization chart of the school board, after lengthy consultations and discussions with all interested groups over a period of many months, was finally adopted unanimously in June 2013 by the Council of Commissioners. A mere two months after the election of the new Council in Nov. 2014, the Director General was mandated to suggest further revisions to streamline the chart making it more responsive to the new Council’s stated priorities, while not increasing the number of administrative positions at the Board’s head office.

When the DG presented just such a plan to Council at the February 2015 Council meeting, vice-chairman Sylvia Lo Bianco, presented a second option, one that closed a DDG position and reopened two previously abolished regional director positions. Both options were subsequently sent out for consultation. Three of the four groups consulted supported the option presented by Mr. Stocker, including the associations representing all the in-school administrators and those at the board level who work in direct service to our children. But this did not seem to matter, as the Mancini majority pushed their option through by a vote of 8-3.

What can we conclude from all this? We are certainly dismayed by the lack of sensitivity that the majority of commissioners on this Council have shown towards its stakeholders. Just recently the Mancini group tried very hard to block the EMSB Central Parents’ Committee from sending out a survey to EMSB parents via the schools. It would appear that they dispute the CPC’s right to consult its own constituents.

What is most disturbing about the Mancini majority is their arrogance. Even after they bulldozed their new organization chart through Council, against the wishes of most of those consulted, they claim righteousness because of their majority. All the while they have added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the EMSB administrative payroll.

During the past decade the EMSB has gone through some difficult times and has successfully taken on many challenges, not the least of which was to dispel the bad reputation that it had, either fairly or unfairly, acquired of not being an equal opportunity employer. Under the leadership of Mr. Stocker and Ms Medwid, the EMSB has risen to be the envy of public school boards across Quebec, as our success rate is the highest in the province, above all other English or French school boards.

Why then at this very critical time in the history of our School Board would the present Council of Commissioners choose to put in jeopardy the very good will and trust that has been won by the hard working administrators, teachers and support personnel of our board by “fixing” a problem that does not exist?

Former EMSB School Commissioners:

Rocco Barbieri
Anne Williams
Ted Donnini
Joseph Petraglia
Rosa Cerrelli
Albert Perez
Richard Lalonde
Michele Ciampini

Ann Marie Matheson appointed EMSB DG : what was her ticket to the EMSB “family”?

At meetings held on June 30th, one in-camera and the other public, the EMSB council of commissioners confirmed an in-camera decision and appointed Ann Marie Matheson as its new DG.

The EMSB recently changed its professional requirement policy for the Director General’s job, that is, it became no longer a requirement for a candidate to have  5 years experience at the senior management level; rather, only 5 years at the management level was deemed necessary.  In making this change, the procedural obligations and required consultation process appear to have been ignored by the EMSB. 

Along with her professional background at the “management” level, Matheson was appointed EMSB commissioner in 2011 after the resignation of Joseph Petraglia, a position that she held  until 2014. During her years as commissioner, her voting record demonstrates a strategic alignment with the group in power. Matheson did not run in the last school board elections but was apparently involved in the Team Mancini campaign. Although Mancini recused herself from voting at the public meeting thus confirming her conflict of interest with regards to the Matheson appointment, no one from the former Team Mancini  group and who are currently commissioners, applied the EMSB conflict of interest guidelines.

At the June 30th meeting, the EMSB also adopted a balanced budget. Meanwhile at the LBPSB meeting earlier in the week, Chairperson Suann Stein Day publicly stated that a budget could not be adopted given that the board did not have MELS parameters to adopt a budget. What’s going on here? How can one board adopt a budget and the other cannot?

See Gazette articles on nepotism and cronyism at the EMSB:
http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=f3af80af-7bff-4e5b-abb7-fb15a1e8e3f5
http://www.canada.com/story_print.html?id=85db242f-1f5f-46fa-a8e8-18e9670e9a31

Editorial Note: Through all our various sources,  ACDSA chose Ann Marie Matheson to be the next  EMSB DG three weeks ago.  ACDSA, a step ahead in reporting Québec Educational News.

Petition: “Recognition and adequate funding of public schools”

Although ACDSA strongly believes that the entire K-11  governance model has to be revamped with schools obtaining greater or absolute autonomy and school boards reduced to service centre status or abolished, we do believe and support  that educational funding is of paramount importance.

In consideration thereof, and,  in response to an unofficial request from LBPSB parent commissioner Mike Nalecz, please find below a link to a petition entitled:

“Recognition and adequate funding of public schools”

https://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/exprimez-votre-opinion/petition/Petition-5439/index.html

Son salaire augmente, les autres diminuent

Sarah-Maude LefebvreSarah-Maude Lefebvre
Journal de Montréal

La rémunération de commissaires de la CSA a diminué, contrairement à celle du président.

Le président d’une commission scolaire de la Rive-Nord de Montréal a obtenu une augmentation de salaire de plus de 20 % en diminuant la paie d’autres commissaires.

Cette année, le salaire annuel du président de la Commission scolaire des Affluents (CSA), Thomas Duzyk, a été augmenté de 43 201 $ à 54 375 $.

En parallèle, la rémunération des 15 commissaires a été diminuée, tandis que les salaires des deux vice-présidents ont fondu de moitié, comparativement à l’an dernier.

Ces nouveaux salaires ont été proposés par le président et d’autres membres du comité exécutif, peu après leur élection en novembre. Ils ont été adoptés à l’unanimité.

Mais c’est seulement la semaine dernière que plusieurs membres de la commission scolaire ont été mis au courant de l’affaire, après qu’un citoyen eut dévoilé ces chiffres lors d’une réunion des commissaires.

Une hausse normale

Les conseils des commissaires ont le loisir de choisir la façon dont ils divisent l’enveloppe salariale fournie par le ministère de l’Éducation.

Or, si son salaire a augmenté alors que celui des commissaires a baissé, c’est parce qu’il endosse davantage de responsabilités, a plaidé le président de la CSA.

«On a convenu que le président avait beaucoup plus de temps à consacrer à la commission scolaire que les vice-présidents», explique-t-il notamment pour justifier leur baisse de rémunération.

«Tout le monde a voté. Je ne peux pas expliquer chacun des éléments. On aurait aimé donner plus aux commissaires, mais j’ai fait le modèle en fonction des responsabilités de chacun.»

Craignant des représailles, un commissaire a avoué au Journal sous le couvert de l’anonymat avoir l’impression de s’être fait «flouer».

«Lorsque le président nous a présenté les salaires, on a eu 5 minutes pour les approuver. Ils étaient échelonnés sur une période de 8 mois et non d’un an. Je n’ai donc pas compris sur le coup que ça représentait une augmentation de salaire [pour le président]», explique-t-il.

«On a voté en faveur, mais on était dans l’erreur. On s’est fait avoir. Le président a déjà un bon fonds de retraite, car il était auparavant le directeur général de la commission scolaire. Pourquoi alors se prendre autant d’argent à notre détriment?»

Les syndicats déçus

Les trois syndicats d’employés de la commission scolaire se sont également dits «déçus».

«C’est choquant de voir ça, avec tous les sacrifices que l’on doit faire en raison de l’austérité», blâme Francine Lussier du Syndicat de l’enseignement de Lanaudière.

«C’est difficile de comprendre pourquoi les commissaires ont voté en faveur de l’augmentation [du président]. Ça envoie un drôle de message dans les écoles», dénonce aussi Anick Hamel, présidente du syndicat des employés de soutien.

Une hausse normale

Contactés à ce sujet, d’autres commissaires se sont dits en faveur de cette hausse de salaire pour le président.

«Tout le monde a voté. Oui, les chiffres étaient sur huit mois. Mais on est des gens intelligents. Tout le monde est capable de faire une règle de trois pour annualiser les chiffres présentés. Et le président travaille très fort», soutient Jacques-Alexandre Le Bail, qui siège au conseil exécutif.

Les membres du comité exécutif sont les seuls avec le président à avoir vu leur salaire être augmenté cette année.

Les salaires à la Commission scolaire des Affluents

En hausse

Président du conseil

  • 2013-2014: 43 201 $
  • 2014-2015: 54 375 $

Membres du comité exécutif

  • 2013-2014: 1682 $
  • 2014-2015: 3107 $

En baisse

Vice-président du conseil

  • 2013-2014: 8782 $
  • 2014-2015: 3884 $

Vice-président du comité exécutif

  • 2013-2014: 6541 $
  • 2014-2015: 3884 $

Commissaires

  • 2013-2014: 8028 $
  • 2014-2015: 7810 $

Source: Commission scolaire des Affluents

Professional requirements eliminated in posting for EMSB’s director general job…


On June 30th, 2015, the EMSB council of commissioners as per the recommendation of its selection committee members will appoint a candidate for the director general job.

In 2009 when the EMSB posted the requirements for the director general job, potential candidates had to have 10 years experience, including at least 5 years in a senior staff position.

Fast forward to 2015, candidates must have 10 years of experience, including 5 years in a management position.

There is a subtle but important difference between experience in a senior staff position and that of a candidate with experience at a management level.

Why did the EMSB Chairperson Angela Mancini and its selection committee members water down qualifications for the top job at the EMSB? Was it to open up the process or was it to tailor the process to fit the qualifications of a predetermined future appointee? Legally under the Education Act, changes in policy as per the above require consultation of professional associations and a resolution by the Council of Commissioners; a legal requirement apparently bypassed  by Angela Mancini and her selection committee.

The EMSB’s selection committee members are: Angela Mancini, Mordechai Antal, Syd Wise, Sylvia Lo Bianco, and Joe Ortona.

Too many layers in education


Source: The Suburban
By Prof. Jon Bradley

Quebec is smothered by overlapping educational organizations. This many layered hydra stifles meaningful debate, separates constituents into minor realms, scatters financial resources and diminishes elected responsibility.
The recent public debates regarding the place and role of school boards along with EMSB parental opinion polls, for example, illustrate a fractured education scene that diminishes a concerted English point-of-view.
While the MELS may be headed by a designated minister, all elected MNAs represent citizens.  Fundamentally, the role of MNAs are to support and advocate for education generally and more specifically for their electoral districts. The assumption that public education responsibility rests mainly with the MELS and/or school boards is simply false.
The anglophone community must ask how their MNAs advocate for education and, specifically, for local public schools?
Edifice Marie-Guyart (often referred to as Complexe G) is the headquarters for the MELS. Hundreds of functionaries work in this building dealing with education at the provincial level.
The anglophone community must ask their MNAs, especially in this period of restraint, austerity and reorganization; why so many public servants are needed to administer our educational system?
Within the senior structure of the MELS is an “assistant deputy minister” who is responsible for ‘English sector’ education issues.  The focus of the ADM has been greatly diluted by being demoted from an “associate” to an “assistant,” and adding ‘cultural communities’ and ‘First Nations’ to the dossier. Nonetheless, this office has access to the targeted funds generated by the Canada-Quebec Agreement for Minority-Language Education.
The anglophone community must demand that ADM Chantal C. Beaulieu publicly demonstrate how the approximate $260 million received from the Federal Government, between 2009 and 2013, was specifically allocated for the benefit of English education?
Accepting the embedded philosophy that English education does not just deal with language but importantly embraces attendant cultural and heritage concerns, there is a need for senior policy administrators to be ‘of the community’ and to have experienced education while ‘part of the community.’ Therefore, the tendency of the MELS to only appoint francophones into these delicate roles diminishes the understanding for and a willingness to accept English education within its full scope.
The anglophone community must demand of those MNAs, who often like to identify with the English speaking communities, to represent and speak for the concerns of English education.
The MELS maintains nine regional offices. Even the ‘Capitale-Nationale et Chaudiere-Appalaches’ region has a separate office located away from Complexe G. Regional offices have extremely limited local decision-making authority and simply dispense documents and materials emanating from Complexe G.
Can our MNAs explain why there is a need for these regional offices, in these times of fiscal responsibility, especially with emerging technologies that enhance communication and interaction?
Until recently, school boards were religiously based and commissioners elected or appointed via ever evolving schemes. The Constitutional Amendment of 1997 created linguistic school boards in Quebec and formalized open elections for commissioners and chairs. While there is a direct electoral system for school commissioners, there is no similar election process for the many and varied umbrella groups that have mushroomed.
The anglophone education community must question MNAs as to why there is a need for an association (the QESBA) which purportedly represents the nine English school boards; especially when it is neither openly elected nor responsible to the citizenry?
Hovering around the edges of this educational maelstrom are a host of self-serving interest groups. Their specific roles and advantages for English education are questionable; hence, the Provincial Interlevel Table for the English Sector (PITES), and the Leadership Committee for English Education in Quebec (LCEEQ), to name but two from many, illustrates the confusion and mismanagement that abounds. The LCEEQ, as an example, consists of 31 members appointed by selected organizations.
Additionally, the “Comite de gestion de la taxe scholaire d’Ile de Montreal” (often called ‘the Island Council’) is responsible for fixing the tax rate as well as collecting and distributing school taxes to the five school boards (two English/three French) on the Island of Montreal. This powerful and self-select group consists of approximately 12 commissioners from Island school boards.
The anglophone community must ask their MNAs how and why these many, varied, and non- representative bodies are able to exist, consume scare resources and occupy a place in this educational discussion?
Declining birth rates, limited immigration, restricted access, and reduced funding place increasing strain on an already stressed English educational system. There needs to be a serious debate regarding the place, role and kind of elementary and secondary public education broadly supported by an increasingly diverse anglophone community. This crucial debate is hampered by the petty interests of specific interest groups and the reluctance of our elected MNAs to engage in meaningful dialogue and demonstrate commitment.
Leaving the education field to non-elected umbrella groups and/or appointed non-representative functionaries and/or those who are not engaged in the day-to-day life of the anglophone community will not offer clear insight. It is time to declutter the educational landscape, disband unelected special interest groups, trim official bureaucracy and give English citizens a true voice in their children’s educational future.

“Election System Study Panel” statement made by Marlene Jennings is disingenuous and misleading.

Open Letter to ” Election System Study Panel”

The following statement issued by the ” Election System Study Panel”  and posted on some school board websites   is  not only disrespectful to the Education Minister,  Francois Blais,  but is quite frankly  disingenuous and misleading in its message.
“As you know, the Minister of Education François Blais has announced a tight timeline that gives us only July and August to consult parents and the community at large across Québec.”  Source: Marlene Jennings on behalf of Elections System Study Panel

The issue of abolishing school board elections has been on the table for a considerable length of time  as has the education ministers’  request to obtain public  feedback and suggestions. As a matter of fact,  news agencies have done  polls on abolishing school board elections  over the past few months already.  All indicating that the Anglo community is in favour of abolishing school board elections if  indeed  not school boards themselves.

For example, a poll  initiated by  CTVMontreal  indicates that 64% of respondents  favoured the ending of school board elections. A previous poll done a month earlier had the same result with 66%.  Obviously this random poll indicates that the Anglophone Community is solidified in its’ views in abolishing school board elections  similar as to the views expressed by the  Québec Francophone population.

It was the legal pursuit rhetoric  “going to the Supreme Court” etc.  initially  indicated by the QESBA and its various “partners” which was responsible for delaying  the consultation process and not the Education Ministers’ actions.
We expect that this misleading statement  will be corrected to reflect the real situation that  created this panels’ consultation  timeline.

Thanking you in advance for your correction of the statement.

On behalf of www.acdsa.org

Yours Sincerely,

Luc Horne

Once again, EMSB opts for Friends & Family package

Commentary by former EMSB commissioners: 
Rocco Barbieri,  Anne Williams, Ted Donnini, Joseph Petraglia, Rosa Cerrelli,
Albert Perez, Richard Lalonde

What’s going on at the EMSB?

As taxpayers and former commissioners of the English Montreal School Board, we are extremely concerned by some of the recent announcements that have emanated from the current Council of Commissioners, namely the “stepping down” of the Director General, Robert Stocker, and his reassignment for another year as a “conseiller cadre”, as well as the demotion without cause of the senior Deputy Director General, Ms Roma Medwid, a person who has held that position with exemplary success for the past five years. Both the now former DG and the soon-to-be former DDG will continue to be paid their hors cadres salaries, even while performing other, yet-to-be-determined tasks at a cost to the taxpayer of more than $300,000 per year. One can only speculate as to the motives behind these moves, especially at a time when the Government has imposed severe budget cuts in the education sector and the Minister of Education is calling for the abolition of school board elections.

It is important to note that scarcely two years ago the organization chart of the school board, after lengthy consultations and discussions with all interested groups over a period of many months, was finally adopted unanimously in June 2013 by the Council of Commissioners. A mere two months after the election of the new Council in Nov. 2014, the Director General was mandated to suggest further revisions to streamline the chart making it more responsive to the new Council’s stated priorities, while not increasing the number of administrative positions at the Board’s head office.

When the DG presented just such a plan to Council at the February 2015 Council meeting, vice-chairman Sylvia Lo Bianco, presented a second option, one that closed a DDG position and reopened two previously abolished regional director positions. Both options were subsequently sent out for consultation. Three of the four groups consulted supported the option presented by the DG, including the associations representing all the in-school administrators and those at the board level who work in direct service to our children. But this did not seem to matter, as the Mancini majority pushed their option through by a vote of 8-3.

What can we conclude from all this? We are certainly dismayed by the lack of sensitivity that the majority of commissioners on this Council have shown towards its stakeholders. Just recently they tried very hard to block the EMSB Central Parents’ Committee from sending out a survey to EMSB parents via the schools. It would appear that this Council disputes the CPC’s right to consult its own constituents.

What is most disturbing about the latest moves of this Council, is the display of arrogance in announcing them. Even after they bulldozed their new organization chart through Council, against the wishes of most of those consulted, they claim righteousness because of their majority. The two new positions, albeit temporary, of “conseiller cadre” and that of “conseiller cadre on special assignment”, appear nowhere on this organization chart. What possible justification could there be for spending almost half a million dollars in extra salaries?

During the past decade the EMSB has gone through some difficult times and has successfully taken on many challenges, not the least of which was to dispel the bad reputation that it had, either fairly or unfairly, acquired of not being an equal opportunity employer. Under the leadership of Mr. Stocker and Ms Medwid, the EMSB has risen to be the envy of public school boards across Quebec, as our success rate is the highest in the province, above all other English or French school boards.

Why then at this very critical time in the history of our School Board would the present Council of Commissioners choose to put in jeopardy the very good will and trust that has been won by the hard working administrators, teachers and support personnel of our board by “fixing” a problem that does not exist? We sincerely hope that the current actions of this Council do not indicate a return to the suspected cronyism of past years.

In Reference to The Various Privacy Laws, The QESBA “Panel” Does Not Have The Legal Right To Reach Out To The Anglophone or Allophone Population using electronic means.

The QCGN, QFHSA, EPCA, Leo LaFrance and Marlene Jennings do not represent the Anglophone population nor for that matter the Allophone population. What the participants have in common  is a vested interest in seeing to it that their associations’ missions or individual visions are adhered to and applied. As such, this “Panel” is more a self interest study group than a  truly representative group.

In consideration of privacy laws, the panel has  no legal access to  parents  or taxpayers distribution lists nor can they email individuals without first getting their consent as laid out in Canada’s anti-spam legislation. It therefore nullifies any of the QESBA or “Panel”  claims that they are going to reach out to all the parents or taxpayers.  Their input will thus be based on the same groups and individuals who have been battling to maintain school board elections.

The Panel’s first duty is to explain how they are going to contact and receive universal electronic (email etc) feedback from Quebec’s parents and taxpayers without breaking the Privacy Act legislation and Canada’s anti-spam legislation.

The editors of ACDSA are  waiting for that answer and also for a copy of the  questionnaire that is supposed to be used.  We herewith, give the QESBA and “The Panel” our permission to contact us by email.  When we receive the documentation, we will complete it as requested.