English school board leaders consider school tax hike
$12 million shortfall could lead to school tax hike
English public school boards in Quebec are considering hiking school taxes to make up for a $12 million shortfall stemming from the Parti Québécois' belt-tightening budget.
Leaders of the English education system held a forum in Laval on Thursday to discuss the issues surrounding the provincial budget and its impact on schools.
They have started to consider raising school taxes to help alleviate some of the strain caused by the lack of money.
"Boards have to look somewhere to keep their funds up and the school taxes are their discretionary fund," said Richard Goldfinch, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers.
Quebec English school boards were hoping the budget would bring some relief after years of deep cuts.
They needed $30 million more to balance their budget but were only given $18 million by the province.
School board officials said the tax hikes are likely to happen in places like Montreal's South Shore, Laval or in regions outside of Montreal since the city is already at its maximum mille rate and because the comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire , the school tax management council, collects the fees for the school boards in Montreal.
Marian Lothian, co-chair of the Leadership Committee for English Education in Quebec, said "this is another year with equal cuts in the million-dollar range for all the school boards."
She said the cuts were getting closer to affecting classrooms.
The education leaders said services provided to teachers, such as educators for students with special needs, could be cut first. They say that some school boards are showing a deficit on a more regular basis.
A report written by the group will be submitted to the province's education ministry after the holidays to help determine their plan of action.