4 mil­lion dol­lars of bud­get cuts for Estrie Re­gion School Boards

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Sher­brooke

Fol­low­ing the tabling of the Min­istère de l’Éd­u­ca­tion, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS) draft Bud­get Rules, the coun­cils of com­mis­sion­ers of the Estrie re­gion’s an­glo­phone and fran­co­phone school boards ( Com­mis­sion sco­laire de la Ré­gion-deSher­brooke, Com­mis­sion sco­laire des Som­mets, Com­mis­sion sco­laire des Hauts-Can­tons and the East­ern Town­ships School Board) are unan­i­mous in ex­press­ing their shock over the close to 4 mil­lion dol­lars in com­pres­sions to school boards in the Estrie re­gion.

Not only were these cuts, which will af­fect the ad­min­is­tra­tion, un­ex­pected, they also ar­rive at a very in­op­por­tune time in the school boards’ bud­get prepa­ra­tion process, a process with which the MELS is very fa­mil­iar. The school boards have been work­ing since last fall to com­ply with Bill 100 that seeks to re-es­tab­lish a bal­anced bud­get for the prov­ince’s fi­nances, and which al­ready in­volves sig­nif­i­cant cuts. The boards will be adopt­ing their bud­gets for the next school year at the end of June 2011, which leaves their ad­min­is­tra­tors very lit­tle time and lee­way to de­velop a sec­ond plan for mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant cut­backs. Gaé­tan Perron, Chair of the Com­mis­sion sco­lairedes Hauts-Can­tons Coun­cil of Com­mis­sion­ers and Chair of the Ta­ble des prési­dents et

di­recteurs généraux des com­mis­sions sco­laires de l’Estrie con­demns this sit­u­a­tion.

“No one in the sys­tem had seen this news com­ing. We agree that ef­forts must be made to bal­ance Que­bec’s fi­nances and that is why we re­sponded to the de­mands of Bill 100. This new call to make size­able cut­backs will ab­so­lutely

have an im­pact on our abil­ity to of­fer ser­vices. The prob­lem is that at this time of year, our boards’ bud­getary choices have al­ready been made and will be voted on within the next month. Mak­ing cuts and re­view­ing the way we do things re­quires time, re­flec­tion and dis­cus­sions. With this new poorly-timed an­nounce­ment of fur­ther cuts, the MELS is pre­vent­ing school boards from tak­ing the time needed to find so­lu­tions. It will be dif­fi­cult to make fur­ther cut­backs to ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices while try­ing not to di­min­ish their qual­ity.”

It is im­por­tant to note that ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices are ser­vices for stu­dents, for ex­am­ple

trans­porta­tion ser­vices, ped­a­gog­i­cal sup­port, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, sec­re­tar­ial ser­vices, hu­man re­sources man­age­ment, etc. It would be un­for­tu­nate to have to re­duce these ser­vices, which are vi­tal to the de­vel­op­ment of our com­mu­ni­ties.

The school boards also de­plore the fact that, on one hand, the gov­ern­ment main­tains that ed­u­ca­tion is one of its pri­or­i­ties while on the other, it im­poses poorly-timed bud­get cuts.

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