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The Quebec English School Boards Association extends a warm welcome back to students and staff

Montreal; August 27, 2014: "Welcome back!" David D'Aoust, President of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) extends best wishes to students, teachers, administrators, and parents on behalf of our nine English School Boards for a great and successful 2014/2015 school year.

D'Aoust continued: "With boards clearly focused on delivering the best possible education for our nearly 100,000 youth and adult students, the nine English Boards have once again registered success rates well above the Quebec Provincial average. Our Boards set the best possible learning environment for students in their communities while dealing effectively and efficiently with ongoing and sometimes hurtful budget compressions."

Many challenges await us in the coming year. The new government has already made some changes to the administration of education in Quebec by doing away with the Regional Bureaus of the Ministry of Education. QESBA will work with our member boards to find ways to minimize the effects of this change. School Boards organize and operate all administrative functions to allow schools to concentrate on their principal task – serving students. We have always appreciated the amazing work of Principals, teachers, and all in-school personnel and offer a special welcome back and thanks to those dealing directly with our students.

With the lowest operating cost of any level of government our aim is to ensure that it is kept that way. Student achievement, changing technology, the increasing demand for specialized programming, and public sector negotiations will keep the Boards, and the QESBA, very busy this year.

It will also be an important year for our community in another way. School Boards will hold the first Commissioner elections since 2007. A new element being introduced this year is the separate election of each Board's Chairman by universal suffrage. Much as a mayoral election, candidates will be declaring their interest in running for the top position in their respective Boards and will have to campaign for public support across their territory, a daunting task as best but even more so for the English school boards with some covering a territory the size of some countries. That said, there is increased interest across the system to seek election and we could see a record number of elections being contested. It is critical that the community comes out in large numbers to vote. School Boards represent the only level of government whose councils are elected with the specific mandate to represent the English-eligible community in the most important obligation of all government services – educating our students. QESBA President D'Aoust commented: "Whether you have students in schools and centers or not, you have a stake in the future of our society and in our community. Please get involved by running as a candidate, by attending community meet-the-candidate meetings, and by voting on November 2nd."

"Education Minister Bolduc has been very forthright and open with us. We appreciate his focus on student achievement and we look forward to a continued open relationship with him and the officials at the Ministry" stated D'Aoust. He went on to remind us all: "The schools are once again open. We know everyone has somewhere important to be but please slow down and watch out for our students. Let’s keep them safe. They are our future."

QESBA is the voice of English public education in Quebec representing about 100,000 students, in youth, adult, and vocational sectors.