Ray Venables, President, was accompanied by nine teachers from three schools (St. Patrick’s, Evergreen and SPDS) to the Council of Commissioners’ meeting in New Carlisle. This was possible because these three schools had pedagogical days and the Council meetings are always held during the workday; other schools were not invited because it would disrupt the students’ instruction time and it would be too costly. Ray congratulated the new and returning Commissioners and wished them the best during their mandate.
During question period, Ray focused on the provincial negotiations and explained that the employer’s demands will endanger the quality of education in ESSB since money is being withdrawn for student services. Let’s not forget that the Reform has not improved the dropout rates for boys nor for students with special needs; Quebec ranks #1 in the country and #2 in the world in math; and ESSB’s results have been steadily improving during the last four years. Ray asked the Commissioners two questions: 1) Does ESSB agree with the employer’s offer to reduce services to students? 2) What will ESSB do to ensure the quality education system considering that there could be less money spent in the classroom? Ray invited ESSB, on behalf of ESTA, to join the teachers’ group to avoid a catastrophe but received no firm commitment. The answers were nuanced and teachers were told that discussions were taking place elsewhere behind closed doors.
The Gaspe SPEC was present for the meeting, so make sure to buy your newspaper this week for the full story!