FACE students form human chain to protest Quebec education cuts

Montreal parents hold morning protest over education funding

Parents, students and educators from more than 90 schools across the province held simultaneous protests before classes this morning, to denounce the Couillard government's education cuts.

About 50 people chanted "Don't touch our schools" and formed a human chain around FACE school, a Fine-Arts-focussed school run jointly by the English Montreal School Board and the Commission Scolaire de Montréal.

Schools in eight other regions, including the Gatineau area, the Quebec City area, and the Gaspé peninsula also participated.

In March, the Quebec government announced the province's education budget would see an increase of only 0.2 per cent, which amounts to a cut, when the rate of inflation is factored in.

Parents are concerned provincial cuts to education will mean the elimination of jobs, such as librarians and resource teachers, and reductions to school bus services.

"It's not a neighbourhood school, it's got a really good arts program and the bus was provided so it was really great [even] if we didn't live really close to the school," said Jennifer Roberge, who has two children at FACE. "It became a more accessible option for us."

Education minister François Blais has told school boards they should be able to absorb the cuts without affecting services for students, something protesters say is not possible.

"There have been waves of cuts over the past few years and now, all of the fat has been trimmed," said Pascale Grignon, spokesperson for the "Save our Public Schools" movement. "We're hitting flesh and bone."