EMSB debates transferring some students from Galileo School
Published Friday, May 17, 2019 7:53AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 17, 2019 7:49PM EDT
The English Montreal School Board discussed several proposals Thursday evening concerning the Galileo Adult Education Centre.
The building in Montreal North is home to several adult education programs, including one for 140 people with special needs, but keeping all these programs under the same roof is in doubt.
Faced with a demand from the Education Ministry for more space most of the EMSB's administrative staff and several board members say the most straightforward option is to give up the Galileo school.
The Education Minister does not like this plan, saying he feels the adults with special needs are too "vulnerable" to move to another building, and so he has suggested moving anglophone children out of three different schools in eastern Montreal.
At Thursday's meeting, the EMSB parents' committee proposed keeping the special needs students in place and moving the other 850 adults out of Galileo and to other facilities.
"I believe it's a question of stability right?" said Joseph Bondi, chair of the parents' committee.
"Obviously this is a very challenging population, they have disabilities, so it's not unfeasible that they would be able to move them but the concern parents have is the time frame."
There could be problems with keeping special needs students at Galileo while french board students move in, but some feel it is better to let them continue in an environment they know than disrupt their routine.
Sylvia Balycky said her 29-year-old daughter, who has Down Syndrome, needs a lot of supervision.
"I think what people don't realize is the struggle that we live day-to-day with our children. We have different struggles, we understand that sometimes they have a hard time expressing themselves, we have sometimes a hard time communicating with them and I think any change that happens is something. It becomes a very big deal," said Balycky.
The French board has said it does not want the Galileo building because it would not meet its needs.
Many members of the EMSB say the move of special needs students would not necessarily be disruptive, and point to the move of special needs students at the MAB Mackay Centre in Cote des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grace in 2018 as an example.
The EMSB will make a final decision about Galileo on Tuesday.
EMSB vice-chair Joe Ortona says freeing up Galileo would create almost as much space as transferring the three other schools in question.