LISTEN: Future of English school boards dominates CJAD 800 debate on education

The future of English school boards took centre stage at CJAD 800's weekly issues debate on the Leslie Roberts Show on Friday morning.

Both Liberal candidate Jennifer Maccarone and Québec Solidaire's Raphaël Rebelo took the CAQ's Jean-François Roberge to task over his party's controversial plan to abolish democratically elected school boards.

The CAQ has cited low voter turnout at recent board elections as justification for abolishing school boards.

"Instead of saying we're going to abolish the structures, why don't we invest in democracy?" Maccarone, the head of the Quebec English School Boards Association, told the CJAD 800 audience.

Roberge, however, says the idea to scrap school boards was originally a Liberal one.

"Mr. Couillard said in 2014, if you don't vote, change will happen," Roberge said. "Well, 83 per cent listened to Mr. Couillard."

A month before the school board vote in 2014, then-Liberal education minister Yves Bolduc had suggested school boards could be done away with altogether, depending on the turnout figures.

Nearly 17 per cent of those registered with English boards turned out to vote in that election, compared with just under five per cent on the French side.

Roberge says the party wants to transform the nine English boards into what he calls "service centres for schools", and that anglos have nothing to fear.

Listen to the full debate below.