MONTREAL – Quebec's proposed education reform is "convoluted, confusing, complicated and difficult to implement," according to the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA).

The organization is speaking Monday at the province's parliamentary hearings on turning school boards into service centres, a proposal tabled by Education Minister Jean-François Roberge on Oct. 1.

After studying Bill 40, QESBA is recommending the legislation be withdrawn.

It says the government has not proven that Quebec’s education system is in dire need of change. In fact, QESBA insists the bill is "on the wrong track."

"Bill 40 represents the most significant school governance change since the creation of linguistic school boards more than 20 years ago," QESBA argued.

The government of Quebec has not adequately proven than Bill 40 will contribute to the success of students, it adds, because public consultations were not held before the proposal was written.

The association says that any possible benefits of the government’s proposal are "not at all clear."

Under the bill, the French system will lose its right to hold elections to choose commissioners and directors. The English system will keep its elections.

"The elimination of elected school boards in the French network is a serious blow to local democracy," QESBA states.

If the government should proceed with Bill 40, QESBA is asking that the English system be exempted.

"We should be focusing on how to make school boards better, not on what replacement model should be imposed on our community," it argued.

QESBA also offered up several modifications, such as reducing the minister's power over the English centres and proposing that elections be held at the same time as municipal balloting to "significantly reduce cost and encourage larger voter participation."

The government has called the education reform bill "the end of school boards as we know it."

It says it wants to adopt the reform before the end of the current session in early December.

The legislation proposes that school boards cease to exist by November 2020. Hearings into Quebec’s education system are set to go until Nov. 13.