Unveiling its four-year Commitment-to-Success Plan, December 12, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB) bid 2018 farewell.
As parents, principals, and a few community members looked on, Director-General (DG) Gaelle Absolonne, Chairperson Paolo Galati, Consultant Geoffrey Hipps, and Communications Coordinator Maxeen Jolin, outlined SWLSB’s orientations towards 2023
A student- produced video of the educational successes of Laurier students illustrated positive outcomes of learning within SWLSB’s framework, expressing themes of safe/positive learning environments, camaraderie among students and teachers, and school as fun.
The objectives … engage, build, achieve. “The logo reflects the corporate vision featured on diplomas,” stated Jolin. “The five silhouettes point to educational objectives; the seal inspired the design – five seals, five objectives in both of Canada’s official languages,” she explained.
Former Chairperson Jennifer Maccarone, ex-interim Assistant DG (twice) Fred Greschner, and directors were thanked for actualizing the plan. Parents and most principals left immediately after the presentation of the Success Plan.
Secret vote defeated
Nominations, self- nominations, and elections ensued,with a commissioner and a Vice-chair once again chose from their own, with as how-of-hands vote following the surprising turn down by Council of secret ballot. The high point was self-nominated commissioner Vicki Kaliotzakis for Vice Chairperson, over new commissioner Robert Pellerin. Victorious and beaming, Kaliotzakis immediately sat beside Chairperson Galati.
In-camera,council voted on remuneration from public funds. Visitors left while discussion took place, a familiar practice by school boards. English Montreal School Board uses similar procedures. Upon return, Galati announced $125,380 to be shared by commissioners.
He’s back! Chris Eustace, relentless and tied to be fit
Chris Eustace, well-known English education activist, and watchdog for irregularities and illegalities, deposited several written questions to Council before the 1:00 pm deadline.
Answers did not come. Eustace asked about funneling of public funds into the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) at $114,368.48 in fees, citing figures ranging from $90,000 in 2016 to 2018, noting the steep augmentation.
“What happened here?” Eustace asked, making reference to a newspaper article stating that QESBA will use these funds to fight the newly-elected CAQ government. Council had no comment.
Eustace persisted. ”These are public funds, what’s going on?”Galati shuffled papers and disclosed two QESBA installments this year, $85,000 and $28,592.12. Galati said he didn’t know where Eustace was getting his figures when referring to discrepancies of reported fees from SWLSB. Eustace suggested consulting QESBA’s website,and the 40-page QESBA Annual General Meeting report containing the figures.
Why were no answers to his questions when they were submitted earlier on the same day, Eustace asked. Before sitting down, as he was told to do, he did before point that QESBA’s executive-director, Russel Copeman, misinterprets the Constitutional provisions governing protection of English school boards.
“The Constitution provides for protection of English language rights. There is no reference to school boards,” stated Eustace. “It’s a matter of interpretation. It’s a play on words,” Galati retorted.
QUESBA claims the CAQ’s education plan is unconstitutional, exactly what QESBA said about Bill 86, and threatening court action, TLN reminded. If legal action is undertaken, who pays for costs, Galati was asked. “I don’t know, he answered.”
TLN also asked Galati if a date had been set for the town hall meeting for the 189 parents represented by Theresa Andrusko, who requested another school option for their children, Rosemere, besides Laval Senior Academy/Laval Junior Academy.
Galati said a sub-committee was being formed to study the issue before a date is set, assuring it before registration period, adding that Andrusko would be informed.
Acknowledged by SWLSB was the $153.5 million Class Action suit ($100 per claimant) against 68 school boards for educational materials guaranteed by the Education Act to be free.
Galati graciously wished everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.