Montreal

EMSB students at 2 Saint-Leonard schools to be moved in time for new school year

The decision comes after a Quebec Superior Court justice threw out an injunction filed by the English Montreal School Board aimed at halting the transfer of two English schools to a French-language board. 

Decision comes after injunction aimed at halting transfer of English schools was rejected

Students at General Vanier Elementary will go to Pierre de Coubertin Elementary, according to the EMSB. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Students from two English Montreal School Board schools in Saint-Leonard will be relocated to two different facilities in the fall to meet the space demands in the French system, the board confirmed Tuesday evening.

Those attending General Vanier Elementary will go to Pierre de Coubertin Elementary, and students at John Paul Junior High will go to Laurier MacDonald High.

The decision comes after a Quebec Superior Court justice threw out an injunction filed by the board aimed at halting the transfer of two English schools to the Comission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île. 

"We've never had a situation quite this urgent before," said Ann Marie Matheson, the EMSB's director general.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge ordered the transfer of the two schools, effective July 1.

He argued the French school board was short 3,000 spaces while some English schools in east-end Montreal operate at roughly half capacity.

The EMSB filed for an injunction last week in a last-ditch attempt to stop the handover of the two schools.

The English Montreal School Board held a meeting Tuesday evening.  (Verity Stevenson/CBC)

Matheson said parents from both schools attended a town hall before the schools were transferred. 

Parents from General Vanier were taken on a tour of their children's new school to show how it would "feel like its own school," with its own entrance, sign and administration offices, she said. 

One General Vanier parent, Fiorenzo Vetrone, said he's feeling some relief at the decision. 

"At least we get to keep the community for another year," Vetrone said. "Otherwise the kids would've been dispersed." 

A parent at Pierre de Coubertin Elementary, the school that will receive General Vanier students, said she and other parents will be organizing playdates and meetings with students of General Vanier to make the transition easier. 

Some parents, however, want their children to attend schools other than the ones chosen by the board. The EMSB said it will help transfer those students.

Transfer procedures will begin around Aug. 13, when the buildings reopen.

With files from Verity Stevenson

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