By Joel Ceausu
It took a while but Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc finally visited two special EMSB schools last week.
On Friday Dr. Bolduc quietly made the rounds of the NDG building that is now the very cramped—and widely deemed as inadequate—home to the Mackay Centre and Philip E. Layton Schools.
The schools’ landlord, the MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre, falls under the jurisdiction of the Health and Social Services Ministry, and there has not been much progress in terms of providing space for this most vulnerable of populations.
Philip E. Layton services blind, physically and intellectually handicapped students and was forced out of its former home at the MAB’s facility on Sherbrooke Street last September apparently due to renovations and the installation of daycare. Mackay Centre educates children with physical disabilities, the deaf and students with communication disorders. Both schools have a supra-regional mandate and the EMSB is the only school board to offer services to this particular group of English students in the entire province of Quebec.
EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini said in a statement that officials are more optimistic than ever that a new facility will be built following “very encouraging words” from Bolduc.
The EMSB has been crying foul for years about the need for a new school, and is requesting funds for a new facility to be built on land it already owns in NDG.
Bolduc’s ministry has already allocated funds to build two new schools servicing similar French populations on the North and South Shore, as well as spending more than $16 million for the addition of eight classes to the Commission Scolaire de Montréal’s Victor Doré school.
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