Montreal

Education minister turns up pressure on EMSB to hand over a school

The education minister has already turned down the EMSB plan to give up its adult education centre in Montreal North to the French-language Pointe-de-l’Île school board. 

School board says time is needed for proper consultation process

The English Montreal School Board said it's evaluating all the options before coming to a decision on the adult education centre. (CBC)

After Quebec's education minister, Jean-François Roberge, told the English Montreal School Board giving up the Galileo Adult Education Centre isn't the right solution, he's giving it until the end of May to come up with another one.

"I'm quite worried about this situation — the minister has shown he can be quite unpredictable," Joe Ortona, the EMSB vice-chair said, referencing Riverdale High being forced to close recently.

"If there's a magic formula, why doesn't he tell us what it is? ... We're not closing the door to real options, but it has to be legal," he said.

The adult education centre in Montreal North may need to move to give more space to the French-language Pointe-de-l'Île school board. 

Ortona said the school board has already offered Pointe-de-l'Île all the spare space it has. 

"We're working in good faith, this is not a problem the EMSB created," Ortona said. "We are willing to help, but not at the expense of the kids in our network."

Roberge said Wednesday that negotiations have dragged on for years, and the EMSB will be expected to do something soon.

"I don't want to impose a decision, but they will have to take action and propose a credible plan within a few weeks," Roberge said.

Ortona said that consultations take time and only having a few more weeks to decide is not feasible. 

"I think it's premature to have already made up our mind, the minister seems to have made up his mind," Ortona said.

The EMSB will have a consultation on May 16 and a vote on May 21.

According to a document obtained by CBC News in April, the adult education program could move to St-Pius X in neighbouring Ahunstic.

With files from Sean Henry

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