English Montreal School Board in talks with French boards to prevent any forced school closures

The English Montreal School Board says it's in discussions with its French-language counterparts about school overcrowding and sharing schools, to avoid another Riverdale High School situation.

EMSB chairperson Angela Mancini said they don't want what happened to Riverdale High to happen to them.

"Certainly the minister has those powers within the Education Act," said Mancini in an interview with CJAD 800.

"We're not necessarily wanting to give up buildings the way it has occurred and we're hoping that the minister will allow us to do our job in order to work with our counterparts to see if there are solutions to come up with."

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge used those executive powers under the Education Act to close and transfer Riverdale High School from the Lester B. Pearson School Board to the Commission Scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys which is running out of space.

"What we're hoping is that (the minister) will not use (his special powers) and will allow us to do our consultation with our population," said Mancini.

"In the Riverdale situation, the minister chose to use his power and therefore bypass the consultation process."

Mancini said they're in talks with the Commission Scolaire de Montreal (CSDM) and the Commission Scolaire de la Pointe-de l'Ile (CSPI), who have been squeezed for space over the past few years.

The CSPI said in a statement to CJAD 800 while the EMSB has no extra buildings within its territory, it's working in collaboration with its English-language counterpart and the ministry to help find solutions.

Mancini said it's something they've done in the past and has already resulted in sharing school space.