The English school boards occupy a unique place in Quebec society, as the only level of government elected by the English community, in the service of the English community and devoted to providing that community the opportunity to shape the education of its youth. Commissioners representing the nine English school boards in Quebec are elected by the parents and taxpayers of that community and come from all walks of life. They share a common desire to serve youth and their communities by bringing the issues and concerns of their constituents to school board discussions and decision making.

Commissioners are the political arm of school boards, the link between the community and the government. The Council of Commissioners provides the vital leadership and direction that school board staff need to create the vision and shape the conditions for student success in their local communities. Every decision Commissioners make is made with the best interests of the students in mind and, as they are elected by you, they are accountable to you and to the students they serve. Commissioners as individuals do not have power or authority, but collectively, they make policy and decisions for the territory served by the school board.

Improving student achievement is the number one priority of all school boards. This not only includes what goes on in the classroom, but also ensuring that our youth have a safe school environment that is conducive to learning and achieving equality of opportunity and for all students.

Traditional responsibilities of school boards include;

  • establishing and monitoring school board policies
  • hiring and evaluating the Director General (the Board’s Chief Executive Officer)
  • implementing policy set by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS)
  • establishing an annual balanced budget and monitoring its implementation
  • maintaining the school buildings under its jurisdiction - ensuring schools are safe learning environments and available as a community resource
  • lobbying the municipal and provincial governments on education issues of importance to the jurisdiction and to the English sector
  • communicating, informing and involving parents, staff, and the community-at-large about school board decisions and activities
In recent years, public demand for school board accountability has been increasing, with the emphasis on good value for the public investment in education – taxpayers want a clear and measurable return on that investment. The English school boards in Quebec have been very successful on this front with six of the nine Boards placing in the top 10 in terms of graduation rates in the province, out of 69 school boards. The English school boards have already reached, and in most cases surpassed, the MELS goal of an 80<>percentage<> graduation rate by the year 2020. Students in the English sector are graduating bilingual thanks to strong French immersion programs; teachers are dedicated and accomplish much with ever-decreasing funding; parents are engaged and involved in school life. All of these factors contribute to student success.

For some time now there have been questions about the need for elected school boards. One of the main political parties is threatening to eliminate them and the government strips away powers and funding until services to students is the only option left to cut. There are many misconceptions about what school boards do - the fact is that school boards keep the “public” in public education. Our schools count on the support and guidance of our school boards to give them fair and equal access to curriculum support, services to students with special needs, transportation, technology, and personnel support.

School boards have a duty to govern in accordance with specified powers in a fiscally responsible and cost-effective manner. Administrative costs related to school board management are approximately 5<>percentage<> - significantly more efficient than the level achieved by either municipal governments or the provincial government in Quebec. School boards are the most efficient and effective level of government that exists in this province. They uphold the values and culture of the communities that they represent, with a view towards school improvement, accountability and achievement for all students.

The philosophy of school board governance is that government is most effective when it is close to the people being governed. Take away local school board governance and not only does the English community lose its local voice, but also its best assurance of public accountability and transparency in the education system. School boards and the provincial government should be seen as co-governors of the public school system – working together to ensure that our students have a bright future in this province. English public education is a cornerstone of the English community across Quebec and local leadership and governance are the keys to student success and the vitality of our community.