Québec has instituted a new model of school governance. The school boards, as we know them, will become 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 citizens have their role to play and can make a difference in education!

All those involved can contribute in their own way:

  • parents, on the governing board 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 new governance model applies to the public school system, which offers preschool, elementary school and secondary school services, as well as services in adult education and vocational training.

The transition between the two governance models will be seamless. Parents and students will 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 will operate within the confines of its own territory, where it will provide 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 will henceforth be made up of 70 school service centres, broken down as follows: 60 French-language centres, 9 English-language centres and 1 special-status centre. Together, they will provide support for over 2 700 educational institutions. Each school service centre will be managed by a board of directors composed of parents, members of the community and staff members.

Main changes

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 school team, parents or students
  • recognition of teachers’ expertise and of evaluation as a task that falls to them alone
  • specified frameworks for the professional development of teaching staff
  • simplification of procedures relating to the choice of schools and streamlining of student enrollment criteria
  • establishment of mechanisms to facilitate the management of school infrastructure
  • improved communication between parents, school staff, school service centre employees and the Minister, in short, between all those concerned with students’ schooling and educational success

Transitional period

The mandate of the French-language school board commissioners will terminate as soon as the bill receives assent. At the same time, the director general of a French-language service centre will take over the functions currently assumed by the council of commissioners until the formation of a new board of directors on June 15, 2020. The members of the former council of commissioners will, for their part, constitute an advisory committee that will function until June 30, 2020. Their role will be to facilitate the transition and to ensure the transfer of expertise to the director general and the new board of directors, if needed.

The mandate of the commissioners in the English-language system will be maintained until the general school elections of November 1, 2020.

Structure of a school service centre

Board of directors

Each school service centre will be administered by a board of directors, with the exception of the Centre de services scolaire du Littoral, the administration of which has already been entrusted to an administrator. The board of directors will be 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 members of the board of directors must be elected. The board members will be competent, legitimate individuals from various backgrounds who are recognized by their community. They could include, for example, the parents of students, members of the community or school staff. 

Parents’ committee

Each school service centre will have a parents’ committee that will see to the concerns and interests of the students’ parents and ensure that they participate in the centre’s various activities. The parents’ committee will be made up of a parents’ representative from each of the elementary and secondary schools within the centre’s territory, and will include any needed replacements. There will also be a parent from the advisory committee for services working on behalf of handicapped students or students with social maladjustments or learning disabilities.

As a collaborator essential to school life and student success, this committee will carry out its duties in a spirit of partnership with the school service centre. It will enable the board of directors to stay aware of the parents’ needs, always with the students’ best interests firmly in mind.