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A judge will render a decision Thursday regarding the English Montreal School Board's request for an injunction to block the transfer of two EMSB schools.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge made the decision to transfer the schools to an overcrowded French school board last month.

The injunction is an effort by the EMSB to save General Vanier and John Paul I schools, but lawyers have been unclear on whether the injunction will prove successful, according to EMSB chair Angela Mancini.

Mancini said the board was left with no choice but to file the legal paperwork, and argues that Roberge didn't properly consult with the board, citing guarantees in the constitution regarding education rights for Quebec's anglophone minority.

"Certainly if this works and we are granted the injunction and then ultimately a stay of a year, at least then we'll be able to proceed with our major school changes and make our own decisions as we originally had asked," said Mancini.

EMSB Vice-chair Joe Ortona said there is legal precedence supporting the EMSB.

"Constitutional rights apply all the time, in everything. We have the right to manage and control the curriculum and our buildings. That was from a Supreme Court decision in 1990, Mahe vs. Alberta and that was from a case brought by francophones in Alberta fighting for their constitutional rights," said Ortona.

 

If the challenge fails

Meanwhile on Tuesday the EMSB told parents from both schools that the province wants to transfer where their kids will be going in the fall.

If the injunction request is not successful then students, teachers, and staff from John Paul I High School will go to Laurier MacDonald High school. Students and staff from General Vanier elementary would go to Pierre de Coubertin elementary

That last choice by commissioners was the most controversial decision of the night, with many parents preferring Dante school because it is closer than Pierre de Coubertin.

However parents are very hopeful that a legal injunction will delay for a year the transfer of students, giving them enough time for a better alternative to be brought forward.

"We have to wait," said Lucia Bucca. "There are different contingency plans but maybe if the injunction doesn't go through they have other plans, other avenues to follow."

- With files from CTV Montreal's Mike Michaud