By Robert Frank
Uncertain about whom to vote for in the Nov. 2 Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) election? You would be wise to watch the webcast of the Oct. 20 candidates debate, which is archived at www.lbpsb.qc.ca
The repartee provided the best definition of what each candidate stands for of all the exchanges that The Suburban has witnessed during the election campaign thus far.
The debate, organized by LBPSB Central Parents Committee chair Bobbi Brown, was moderated by former Quebec cabinet minister Yolande James.
Outgoing LBPSB chair Stein Day took credit for the school board’s successes and for successfully navigating budgetary challenges, despite drowning in deep government cutbacks and reams of bureaucratic red tape. Indeed, according to Stein Day, the big issues are in Quebec City, not here. Education Minister Yves Bolduc wants to conduct a forensic audit? Bring it on.
Eustace said that he shared Quebec Treasury Board Chair Martin Coiteux’ ambition to rein in “lavish” school board overhead. He intends to put governing boards in charge of their schools, and sees the school board as serving schools needs, rather than “run like a top-down fiefdom”.
He has had a close-up view of education during more than three decades as a teacher and a decade-and-half as an education watchdog. He criticized LBPSB for its lack of transparency on budget and other matters.
“No more school board secrecy. Rien,” Eustace vowed, if he’s elected. “I’m just an ordinary guy who will be there to serve. The 12 school commissioners will have their own say and debate publicly.”
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