Catherine Harel Bourdon, president of the CSDM: “do Not throw, the court is full”

commission-scolaire-montreal-csdm-connaitThe president of the Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) has a wish to make with regard to the government this school year is already hectic. “We hope that we’re not going to add cuts. Because it’s going to do, throw more, the court is full”, she says.

If Catherine Harel Bourdon calls last year, a real “storm” budget, ” she warned the parents that they should prepare to feel the impact on their children. In 2017, there will have been $ 100 million of budget cuts, she recalled in an interview with The Press in the office of its headquarters, rue Sherbrooke.

“The first year, it is difficult when there are cuts. The second year, a little more. And then, there was the third, and here we are at the fourth. It is certain that we cannot carry on as if all is well, and say that our students have every right to the same services. Just for this year [2015-2016], we speak of 24 million cut.”

Upon reentry, last Thursday, of students enrolled in schools outside of their neighborhood (freedom of choice) have learned that they were expelled because of the ratios exceeded by class. A dozen teachers have been hired, but this will not be enough to reinstate the 143 children affected. At the same time, a pre-school in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve has been closed. Forty children are repressed in two classes, a teacher will be mutated.

Over the next few weeks, parents are likely to be witnesses of other situations arising directly from the budget cuts, admits Mme Harel Bourdon. It is hoped that the minister of Education, François Blais, will have the decency to come and visit schools in Montreal to capture the peculiarities of the territory. “His predecessor, Yves Bolduc, at least had had the delicacy to visit three of our schools as a special vocation,” she said.

The cuts have affected many sectors. Here is the change in the budget of each and the number of affected positions.

Professionals

– 9,89% (68 posts deleted)

This budget item includes, among others, the educational advisors. They are the ones who make the rounds of schools to provide tools and guidance to teachers in primary and secondary school. They are present to awareness activities to reading, and their presence is often essential for the welcome and the francization activities with newcomers. In disadvantaged neighbourhoods, too. “The families of these children want their children to succeed. The parents are very present in their teaching. They are grateful. To give you an example, we received the case of a child of Syria, which has seen the refugee camps. I don’t know up to what point the minister Blais is aware of this reality.”

Cafeteria

– 11,76% (8,52 posts deleted)

Some children will wait longer at the hour of the dinner to receive their tray. Over the years, the Commission scolaire de Montréal has expanded its food aid beyond the schools located in disadvantaged communities. Cafeterias external and non-profit organizations preparing a hot meal at lunchtime. Today, it is a backward step. “We had a cafeteria that were the meals for the students at their school, but who acted also as catering for people from disadvantaged communities. By cutting off a portion of these meals, it reduces the number of meals in cafeterias, so the staff. It is possible that it creates more waiting,” says the president.

Administrative executives

– 4,03% (5 posts deleted)

The income tax school, among other things, to pay the secretaries, principals, and regular maintenance. We are talking about $ 150 million from the tax on a budget of about $ 1 billion, or about 15%. “We significantly reduced with the vice principals, the number of secretaries also. But there are limits. We can’t put a secretary just two-three days a week. It is an essential service. The secretary attends to report absences, compiling. It covers first aid, lunch forgotten, etc About the directions school, it should not be forgotten that they are response plans in place, in terms of performance, the success of the students.”

Concierge

– 7,38% (25,82 posts deleted)

Is it that the toilets and changing rooms of the schools will be less clean? Is it that there will still be soap and paper hand in the vending machines? These are the students who will be able to judge the course of the next school year. The school board has deleted six posts of caretaker, nearly ten positions worker and janitor. In a context where a part of the housing stock falls into disrepair, these cuts are delicate. The cuts will have a direct impact on the cleanliness and air quality of the schools, has already warned the Confederation of trade unions nationaux (CSN).

Administrative support and technical

– To 6.60% (76,06 posts deleted)

These are the technicians work practices, documentation, recreation and social work. What are the supervisors of students, also. In a context where it is necessary to rip out the services of psychologists, they are often of the ears precious, believes Mme Drone. “We have reorganised our services, consolidating services, such as psychologists. There is some good in there in case of absence in a professional, but it should be understood that the support staff often plays a leading role with students. In some cases, it is the confidant for some students.”

Adaptation to school

+ 1,49% (7,89 jobs created)

Due to the high demand, the CSDM has created a few posts in special education. But this is not enough for what the president calls “school-hospital”. There are seven of them on the territory. These are schools that work with autistic children, people with disabilities, of intellectual disability (EHDAA), etc., “At the present time, it receives 20 million per school, [there are seven of them], but it costs us $ 30 million per year. The ratio is 12 students per class, but you must understand that you can’t put 12 with autism in a single class. It is explained for years that we will find the money elsewhere, that it is part of our deficit. But it has not been recognized. Despite all this, the government is telling us that we have enough funding for this type of student.”

And during this time, in Abitibi-Témiscamingue

At the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, there are 20 teachers in less compared to what was provided for in the staffing plan. At the cégep de l’abitibi-Témiscamingue, you decrease the heating. “It has lowered the temperature of the boiler to 1.5 degrees and it is 21 degrees. In some premises, it is chilly,” says Sylvain Blais, director general. The parking rates have also been increased, particularly for the staff, who suffers a 40% increase in costs, which will be$ 170 this year.

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