MONTREAL -- Several prominent English-speaking organizations announced Thursday that they will be taking to the courts to challenge the constitutionality of Bill 40, the controversial, recently passed Quebec law that abolishes school boards.

The Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA), APPELLE-Quebec - an umbrella organization that represents 16 parents, educators and community groups - the Quebec Community Groups Network (QCGN) and several others argue that Bill 40 infringes on the constitutional rights of Quebec's English-speaking minority to manage their schools, rights they say are guaranteed by Article 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"Over the last year, QESBA has done everything we could to sit and discuss with the Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge to ensure that our Section 23 control and management rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms were respected," QESBA President Dan Lamoureux said in a statement. "Today, we announce that our Board of Directors has unanimously given us a mandate to fight this law in the courts alongside our community partners."

Geoff Kelley, chairperson of APPELLE-Quebec, said "over the coming weeks we will be preparing our case, recruiting parents and others to participate as plaintiffs, and determining who will be intervening on behalf of the community.”

“The Minister is digging in his heels, and despite his repeated comments to the contrary, we are convinced that he knows his bill does not pass constitutional muster,” QCGN President Geoffrey Chambers said.

The Coalition Avenir Government invoked closure to pass the controversial bill on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 8.

The law abolishes school boards and will replace them with service centres.

It has been met with widespread opposition from parents and teachers groups across Quebec.