Composition

Composition of the governing board of a school

SECTION I, General conditions 

What is the composition of the governing board of an elementary school?

The governing board, which can have not more than 20 members, includes the following persons:

  1. at least four parents of students attending the school who are not members of the school staff, elected by their peers;
  2. at least four members of the school staff, including at least two teachers and, if the persons concerned so decide, at least one non-teaching staff member and at least one support staff member, elected by their peers;
    [ . . . ]
  3. in the case of a school where childcare is organized for children at the preschool and elementary school level, a member of the staff assigned to childcare, elected by his or her peers;
  4. two representatives of the community who are not members of the school staff, appointed by the members elected under subparagraphs 1 to 4.

The community representatives on the governing board are not entitled to vote.

Reference: E.A., section 42.

What is the composition of the governing board of a secondary school?

The same as that of an elementary school, with the following exception:

in the case of a school providing education to students in the second cycle of the secondary level, two students in that cycle elected by the students enrolled at the secondary level or, as the case may be, appointed by the students' committee or the association representing those students.

Reference: section 42, second paragraph, subparagraph 3.

How is the number of representatives on the governing board determined?

The Education Act states that the school board, after consulting with each group concerned, determines the number of parents’ representatives and staff representatives on the school’s governing board.

Furthermore, as the election of members of the governing board of the school must take place no later than September 30, the school board must determine the composition of the governing board during the month of September.

Reference: E.A., section 43, first paragraph and sections 47 to 51.

the school principal take part in the meetings of the governing board?

YES

The school principal takes part in the meetings of the governing board but is not entitled to vote.

Reference: E.A., section 46.

Can the governing board still be formed and operate if not all the representatives have been elected?

Where the meeting of parents called pursuant to section 47 fails to elect the required number of parents’ representatives, the school principal exercises the functions and powers of the governing board.

The fact that the representatives of any other group fall short of the required number does not prevent the governing board from being formed.

Reference: E.A., section 52.

When do the members of the governing board take office?

The members of the governing board take office as soon as all the members indicated in subparagraphs 1 to 4 of the second paragraph of section 42 have been elected or no later than September 30, whichever occurs first.

What is the term of office of the members of a governing board?

The term of office of parents' representatives on the governing board is two years and the term of office of the representatives of other groups is one year.

However, the term of office of half of the first parents' representatives, elected by the meeting of parents, is one year.

The members of the governing board shall remain in office until they are reelected, reappointed or replaced.

Reference: E.A., section 54.

What happens if a member of the governing board quits during his or her term?

A vacancy resulting from the departure of a parents’ representative is filled, for the unexpired portion of his or her term, by a parent designated by the other parents’ representatives on the governing board.

A vacancy resulting from the departure or disqualification of any other member of the governing board is filled, for the unexpired portion of the term, according to the mode of appointment prescribed for the member to be replaced.

Reference: E.A., section 55, second and third paragraphs.

SECTION II, School staff 

Under the Act, the governing board must include at least four members of the school staff, including at least two teachers and, at least one non-teaching staff member and one support staff member, elected by their peers. Who are these “persons concerned?”

The expression “persons concerned” refers to each group that is part of the school staff. Under the Act, three groups may have seats on the governing board: teachers, non-teaching staff members and support staff. A group does not have to sit on the board. However, one group cannot decide to exclude another from sitting on the board.

Reference: E.A., sections 42, second paragraph, subparagraph 2, 43, 48 to 50 and 52.

Can a single representative of the non-teaching professional staff (or support staff) decide that the governing board will not include any representatives of the non-teaching professional staff (or support staff)?

NO

As stated above, it is the school board that, after consulting with each group concerned, determines the number of school staff representatives that will sit on the governing board. Each year, it is up to each group to select a representative. If a group fails to select a representative, the seat remains vacant until such time as the composition of the governing board is modified by the school board.

Reference: E.A., sections 49 on representatives of the non-teaching staff, 50 on representatives of the support staff, and 43.

In the case where a childcare service is instituted after the governing board takes office or after September 30, is the school board obliged to add a representative of the childcare service to the governing board in the current school year?

NO

In this case, the school board cannot add a representative of the staff assigned to the childcare service because doing so would contravene the requirement that the total number of seats for school staff representatives (teaching staff, professional non-teaching staff and childcare staff) and the total number of seats for parents’ representatives be equal.

However, if the childcare service was instituted before the governing board took office, the school board, after consulting with each group concerned, could have modified its decision regarding the determination of the number of parents’ representatives and school staff representatives on the governing board.

Reference: E.A., sections 42, second paragraph, subparagraph 4, 43, second paragraph, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51 and 53.

SECTION III, Parent's representatives 

When do the parents elect their representatives to the governing board?

Each year during the period beginning on the first day of the school year and ending on the last day of September, the chair of the governing board or, if there is none, the principal calls, by written notice, a meeting of the parents of the students who attend the school to elect their representatives to the governing board. The notice must be sent at least four days before the meeting is to be held.

At the meeting, the parents shall elect a representative to the parents' committee established under section 189 from among their representatives on the governing board.

Reference: E.A., section 47 (changed in 2008 following the passage of Bill 88 amending the Education Act).

Can a parent who works in a school and is paid by the school board sit as a parent representative on the governing board?

NO

A parent who has a paying job with a school board is a member of the school staff and cannot therefore sit on the governing board as a parent representative.

Reference: E.A., section 42, second paragraph, subparagraph 1.

Can a grandparent be elected to the governing board?

YES

A grandparent can be elected as a parent of a student if he or she has parental authority or de facto custody of that student.

Reference: E.A., section 13.

What is a parent participation organization?

At the meeting of parents called pursuant to section 47, the parents decide whether or not to form a parent participation organization. If they decide in the affirmative, the parents determine the name, composition and operating rules of the organization and elect its members.

The purpose of a parent participation organization is to encourage the collaboration of parents in developing, implementing and periodically evaluating the school's educational project and their participation in fostering their child's success.

The parent participation organization may advise the parents' representatives on the governing board regarding any matter of concern to parents or any matter concerning which the organization is consulted by the parents' representatives on the governing board.

Reference: E.A., sections 96, 96.2 and 96.3.

To whom must this representative render an account of the decisions made by the parents’ committee? and when consultations are required, who should he or she contact?

The Act provides that, during their annual meeting, the parents elect from among their representatives on the governing board one person who will represent them on the parents’ committee. They may also designate a substitute to sit on and vote at meetings of the parents’ committee when the representative elected for that purpose is unable to do so. 

Under section 192, the functions of the parents’ committee include informing the school board of the needs of parents as identified by the school representatives . . . Each school representative on the parents’ committee is therefore a liaison between the parents’ committee, the parents’ representatives on the school’s governing board, of which he or she is one, and the annual meeting of parents. This representative may also consult the parent participation organization in his or her school, if applicable.

Reference: E.A., section 47.

Can a member of the governing board of a school be a school board commissioner at the same time?

Every school board is administered by a council of commissioners composed of the following persons:

  1. the commissioners elected or appointed pursuant to the Act respecting school elections;
  2. two commissioners representing the parents' committee, one chosen from among the representatives of schools providing instruction at the elementary level and the other from among the representatives of schools providing instruction at the secondary level, elected pursuant to this Act.

Thus, a commissioner who represents the parents’ committee is necessarily a member of the governing board.

An elected or appointed commissioner cannot sit on the governing board of a school. If that happens, he or she must resign from one of the positions.

Reference: E.A., sections 45 on commissioners and 143 on the composition of the council of commissioners.

Can a commissioner take part in governing board meetings?

As stated above, a commissioner elected or appointed pursuant to the Act respecting school elections (chapter E-2.3) cannot be a member of the governing board of a school under the authority of the school board.
However, when carrying out a mandate under paragraph 4 of section 176.1, a commissioner may take part in meetings of the governing board but is not entitled to vote.

Reference: E.A., section 45, second paragraph (changed in 2008 following the passage of Bill 88 amending the Education Act).

SECTION IV, Other categories of members 

Can a representative of the community be appointed outside of a meeting of that governing board?

NO

The Education Act states that the representatives of the community are appointed by the members of the governing board, which therefore presumes that the appointment is made during a governing board meeting.

Community representatives are not, however, entitled to vote.

Reference: E.A., section 42, second paragraph, subparagraph 5, and third paragraph.

Can a governing board invite someone to take part in its meetings as a non-voting member?

NO

The categories of members of the governing board are described in section 42 of the Act. The governing board can, however, choose a candidate interested in becoming a community representative if that position is vacant.

Since governing board meetings are open to the public, the board may make provision in its internal management rules for a public question period.

Reference: E.A., sections 67 and 68.

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