By Robert Frank
It hasn’t been a quiet summer for Laval MNAs. They’ve been getting an earful during the past couple of weeks from concerned constituents who soon must pay higher school bus fees to get their children to school.
The provincial government cutbacks particularly affect families whose children must travel from throughout Laval to attend Greek school.
Last week, Hellenic Community of Montreal (HCGM) president Nicholas Pagonis spoke out on a Greek-language broadcast on Montreal’s MIKE-FM.
“The government is planning to eliminate transportation funding over the next three years,” explained HCGM public relations and marketing director Paris Petrou. “As a community, we must inform the public. The public has already made phone calls and sent electronic messages to MNAs to complain about it.”
“Parents have already registered their kids for the coming school year, so now this comes as an extra cost to parents,” he told The Suburban in an interview.
“All these people have expressed their concerns and we will see what the reaction is going to be,” he added. “We’re not very optimistic, of course, but we’ll see.”
“No change is planned to current policy,” Education Minister Yves Bolduc’s spokeswoman Yasmine Abdel Fadel told The Suburban. “We’re asking all government organizations to make an effort [to reduce expenditure] as well as school boards.”
“We’re working closely with school boards so the efforts we’re asking them to do will not have an impact on services to students,” she added.
“Our main goal is to cut administrative costs to protect services to students.”
“Each school board has its own challenges and distinct character,” she acknowledged, “so we’re working closely to see how the efforts that we are asking of them can be put in place.”
“Each and every school board has to make an effort,” she concluded. “That’s why we’re working with them to see where we can cut mostly in administrative [overhead] to be more efficient with the money that they get.”
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