EMSB school transfers won't happen if boards come up with solutions: education minister

In the wake of recent protests and human chains to save three EMSB schools from being transferred to the Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'île, Quebec's education minister insisted he is listening to the community's concerns and that the transfer may not happen if the boards come forward with solutions.

News of Jean-François Roberge's ultimatum came a week ago in a letter to the EMSB which posted it on its Facebook page.

Roberge said he would use special administrative powers to transfer three schools from the English Montreal School Board to the french language board: General Vanier elementary school and John Paul I junior high school in St-Léonard and Gerald McShane elementary school in Montreal-North.

The move is meant to help ease overcrowding at the french board's schools in the area.

Roberge said he did expect strong reactions to the issue, not only to his decision but also to the lack of action by the boards, notably the EMSB, to solve the overcrowding problem.

"I'm listening, I'm listening to them," said Roberge.

"Maybe at the end we won't transfer those three schools if there are other good options. If options are as good as the transfer of the three schools, maybe we will take other actions."

Another rally organized by parents is being held tonight at St. Leonard city hall.

"I say they have the right to protest, of course. But we need some proposals. To protest is a right, of course, but if we don't take any action, three thousand students won't have any class for September," said Roberge.

The EMSB has until June 10 to hand in solutions to prevent the transfer.