The Liberals say they agree with the CAQ in the ongoing stalemate over the fate of an adult education program in Montreal North.
“Today we're going to join our forces because we really want to make sure that Galileo will be saved,” said Liberal education critic Marwah Rizqy on Thursday.
The English Montreal School Board was asked to come up with solutions to help ease serious overcrowding at the French-language Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Ile.
Despite an outcry from some parents, the EMSB has continued to put forward only one plan: to move 140 special needs students from its Galileo Adult Education Centre.
“It's pretty clear that commissioners have to review their position and they have to do this quick,” said Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge.
“I disagree with the fact that Galileo be moved,” said EMSB chair Angela Mancini. “There's no question in my mind. I sent out for consultation because I still want to hear from the community.”
Mancini maintains she would have preferred to present other options to the minister.
“What is difficult is that we have in the law certain obligations of an 18-month closure or transfer of a building,” she said. “So that is the crux of the problem.”
EMSB co-chair Joe Ortona agreed.
“We're being told that we have to find a building for September, well, that would require an 18-month consultation in our youth schools. So we wanted to provide a space in good faith. Galileo would provide 57 classrooms and we were told by our administrators that this move could work.”
Roberge said Thursday the EMSB could find other options while still respecting the legal timeline.
“They don't have to make the decision to transfer the entire school. We will respect the delay. We will respect the 18-month consultation if they have to do so. But it's not true. It's false to say that because of this delay of 18 months, they have to sacrifice those adults with special needs,” he said. “They must understand, we're not here to play politics; we're here to save a school with adults, young adults, who have special needs. They are a priority.”
The French board has also pushed back against the Galileo transfer, saying the adult education centre won't meet its needs anyway.
Roberge reiterated that if he has to take action and come up with a solution himself, he will. He said he's not there yet and the lines of communication remain open.
A conference call involving the education minister and both school boards will take place Friday to discuss the matter.