Having attended all of the meetings the former trustee of the English Montreal School Board presided over, there is no question in my mind that Marlene Jennings did a good  job at reining in a school board that was characterized as being dysfunctional. No doubt she will serve well as the new president of the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN), which also had its fair share of problems. 

However, I completely disagree with her views on the elected school board system. She was against Liberal school board reform Bill 86 (2015) and presently "fully supports the court challenge to Bill 40 which she says is a clear violation of the English communities’ right to control and manage education."

Let's recall, both majority governments realized that the elected school board system with commissioners was not the way to go. Both governments said that decision-making power should be transferred from school boards,  which have outlived their usefulness, to schools.

At any rate, the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA)  put on a fear mongering campaign and solicited Marlene Jennings to produce a report: "English School Boards Election Systems Study Panel Report."  It called for the status quo.

Moreover, in a widely reported press conference,  on January 13, 2016, with many English groups, including the QCGN,  Madame Jennings said the bill should be thrown in the garbage... "Mettez le projet de loi à la poubelle..." (Le Devoir, ‪Jan. 15‬) And it was -  on May 13, 2016.  Within four years the chairpersons of the EMSB and LBPSB attracted a lot of media attention and both ended up resigning.

Presently, the QESBA is challenging Bill 40, at the courts,  using hundreds of thousands of precious education dollars to fight the student-centered bill. I hope former Trustee Jennings takes a closer look at our public education system  -  and the benefits of education Bill 40, which has absolutely nothing to do with language. 

Chris Eustace                       

Pierrefonds  QC

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