Eight Dar al-Iman school trustees added to the Écoles Musulmanes de Montréal’s board of administrators
Author: Kinda Jayoush
Source: The Gazette, May 10, 2003, p. A6
Note: In the article Lazhar Aissaoui is identified as Azhar Aissaoue
Original title: Muslim school shakes up board
Embroiled in teacher contract dispute. Outside trustees, parent delegates added as ‘fresh blood’ to solve administrative issues
The board of trustees of the Ecoles Musulmanes de Montreal has been shaken up in an effort to resolve a dispute over salaries for teachers.
Salam Elmenyawi, president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, who acted as a moderator in talks last weekend that led to an agreement on the schools’ administration, said 11 outside members were added to the old board, expanding it to 16 members.
Five of the old trustees remained while two resigned from the board.
Eight of the new trustees are from another Muslim school, Dar Al Iman in St. Laurent, and three are parents of students from Ecoles Musulmanes in Notre Dame de Grace.
“It is not a takeover. It is an invitation for the new members to work and offer help,” Elmenyawi said. “Dar Al Iman was recommended because it had experience in dealing with similar problems.”
He said the new board of trustees will directly manage the Ecoles Musulmanes.
“They have enough people now to do whatever needs to be done and make necessary decisions.”
The new board will take on the responsibility of raising funds to cover current shortfalls.
“They also promised the teachers that they will be able to satisfy their pay demands,” he said. “Based on that, they will be running the school and checking the books.”
Teachers at the French-language private primary and secondary schools went on strike last month to press management to raise their pay to 70 per cent of what teachers earn at public schools — a figure agreed upon in their collective agreement which expired in June 2001.
Although wages were frozen during 2001-02, teachers demanded a raise this fall to bring them into line with raises in the public sector, said Mohamed Nekili, spokesperson for the board of trustees.
A public school teacher’s pay starts at about $34,000. Teachers at the Muslim school currently earn $22,000, while they say they should be offered $23,000.
Parents had also accused the school of refusing to show them its financial statement.
Nekili confirmed yesterday that at least seven new members joined the board from Dar Al Iman.
“We are giving an opportunity to a new team of managers and we hope they will have a clear vision of how to run the school,” he said. “It remains for the future to see.”
Dar Al Iman school refused to give details on the deal.
“What I can say now is that we are discussing it,” said Azhar Aissaoue, principal of the school.