FCSQ hoping for constructive dialogue with CAQ to keep school boards alive

The President of the Fédération des commissions scolaires du Québec (FCSQ) believes local school boards and their elections can be saved, despite what CAQ leader François Legault has promised in the past.

During both the 2014 and 2018 provincial election campaigns, Legault ran on a stance that school boards are plagued with governance problems and their elections, due to the incredibly low participation rates, should be abolished. During his first press conference following his party's historic election win, Legault said his government would move forward with abolishing all elected school boards, replacing them with what he called "regional service centres."

FCSQ president Alain Fortier told the Canadian Press such a move would create chaos.

Fortier said be eliminating school boards more than 3,000 schools would have to then approach the provincial government directly for their budget and other services currently handled by the boards.

“It would be equivalent to creating 3,000 school boards, which is insane" Fortier said.

The President added school boards are needed to distribute resources fairly, something a central government would have trouble doing.

As for the elections, Fortier does not deny there is a problem.

In 2014, voter turnout for French school board elections was just 4.87 per cent, while on the English side it was higher, but still a less than impressive 16.8 per cent.

Fortier hopes the Federation can establish a constructive dialogue with the next Premier, saying if Quebec's educational democracy is sick, the goal should be to heal it, rather than killing it off.