Québec has instituted a new model of school governance. On June 15, 2020, the French-language school boards became school service centres. This change is intended to bring the decision-making process as close as possible to the students and to those who are most directly involved in their education, with their best interests in mind.
All those involved can contribute in their own way:
- parents, on the governing board, the parents’ committee or the board of directors
- students, on the governing board or the student committee of an educational institution
- staff members, on the governing board, the board of directors or the commitment-to-student-success committee
- citizens, on the governing board or the board of directors, to which they can bring their expertise and knowledge of the school community
The transition between the two governance models is being carried out seamlessly. Parents and students do not have to take any steps whatsoever to keep receiving all the same services, such as school transportation or educational services.
School service centres
Each school service centre operates within the confines of its own territory, where it provides support and guidance to educational institutions so that they can make decisions that best meet the needs of their students, based on their characteristics and the demands of the community.
The public education system is currently made up of 60 French-language school service centres, 1 special-status school service centre (Centre de services scolaire du Littoral), 9 English-language school boards and 2 special-status school boards (the Cree School Board and Kativik Ilisarniliriniq), dedicated to serving more than 2 700 educational institutions. Since October 15, 2020, the school service centres in the French-language school system have been governed by a board of directors composed of parents, members of the community and staff members.
The main changes in this new governance model are:
- creation of boards of directors made up of parents, community members and staff members
- compulsory training for all members of the boards of directors of the school service centres, and all members of the governing boards of the schools and centres
- creation of a commitment-to-student-success committee in each school service centre
- expanded mandate for the parents’ committee to raise awareness of the importance of education and the essential role of parents in determining their children’s educational path
- attribution of new powers to the governing boards, including a power of initiative over matters that directly concern the operation of the school, parents or students
Structure of a school services centre
Board of directors
Each school service centre in the French-language school system is administered by a board of directors. The board of directors is tasked with administering the affairs of the school service centre, specifically with regard to the proper management of public funds, while ensuring that its educational institutions enjoy the optimum conditions for carrying out their educational mission.
The board members are competent, legitimate individuals from various backgrounds who are recognized by their community. They could include, for example, parents of students, members of the community or school staff.
Establishment of governing boards
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the establishment of the new governing boards of French-language school service centres had to be postponed by an Order in Council until October 15, 2020. At present, all governing boards have been established and consist of 15 members each.
Information on how to become a member of a governing board is available on the websites of the French-language school service centres, if applicable.
Each school centre has a parents’ committee that sees to the concerns and interests of the students’ parents and ensures that they participate in the centre’s various activities.
The parents’ committee is made up of representatives, elected at the parents’ general meeting at the beginning of the school year from among parents who have been elected to their respective governing boards. The parents’ committee is thus made up of a parent representative from each of the elementary and secondary schools within the centre’s territory and any needed replacements. There will also be a parent from the advisory committee for services to students with disabilities, social maladjustments or learning difficulties.
As a collaborator essential to school life and student success, this committee carries out its duties in a spirit of partnership with the school service centre. It enables the board of directors to stay aware of the parents’ needs, always with the students’ best interests firmly in mind.
Each year in Québec, schools as well as adult education and vocational training centres must each establish a governing board composed of no more than 20 members representing all groups of education stakeholders (parents, staff, students and members of the community).
The governing boards have important functions and powers that provide educational institutions with the mechanisms necessary to meet the needs of all students. It is therefore a local-level school governance body whose members, along with the institution’s administration, have the opportunity to discuss, shape and make decisions that are in the best interest of the students attending that educational institution, and thus help them achieve educational success.
Last update: March 29, 2021