Québec has instituted a new model of school governance. Starting on June 15, 2020, 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 comprising 60 French-language centres, 9 English-language centres and 1 special-status centre, as well as 2 special-status school boards (the Cree School Board and the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq).. 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 terms of office of the French-language school board commissioners ended on February 8, 2020, upon assent to the bill. On February 9, 2020, the director general of each French-language school service centre took over the functions assumed by the council of commissioners. Between June 15 and October 15, 2020, the director general will assume the functions of the school service centre’s board of directors. The members of the former council of commissioners, for their part, could be asked by the director general to facilitate the transition and to ensure the transfer of expertise, until June 30, 2020.

In addition, to support them during the transition and in their decision-making until the new members of the board of directors take office on October 15, 2020, the directors general are encouraged to establish an advisory committee. The committee would be made up of parents and staff members from the school service centre.

The terms of office of the commissioners in the English-language education system will be maintained until November 5, 2020, the date on which the new boards of directors of the English-language school service centres will be established.

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.

Postponement of the establishment of the boards of directors at the French-language school service centres

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the directors general of the school boards have been focused on crisis management, primarily directing their attention to supporting school teams to ensure the safe and harmonious return of students to the classroom. By government order-in-council This hyperlink will open in a new window., the new French-language boards of directors will not be established until October 2020.

The dates for the designation process have been changed as follows:

Governing board:

  • Election of the members of the French-language governing boards and designation of the members of the parents’ committees: Before September 18, 2020

Board of directors:

  • Transmission of a designation notice to each member of the parents’ committee: No later than September 22, 2020
  • Deadline for designation of parent representatives and staff member representatives: No later than October 6, 2020
  • Publication of a notice on the website of the school service centre for the designation of community representatives: No later than September 1, 2020
  • Deadline for the co-optation of the community representatives: No later than October 14, 2020
  • Establishment of the boards of directors: October 15, 2020
  • First meeting of the boards of directors: No later than October 23, 2020

Starting in August 2020, the information needed to join the board of directors of a French-language school service centre will be available on the websites of the school service centres.

The terms and conditions for the establishment of the governing bodies of the English-language school service centres are maintained.