Yellowknife Frame Lake
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker, on June 30th of this year, the government dissolved the board of secondary education here in Yellowknife. This opened the way for the long-awaited transfer of responsibility for Sir John Franklin High School to the Yellowknife Education District No. 1. Naturally, district No. 1 considers the management of Sir John to be a great responsibility. Not only is the district taking
over responsibility for an important part of our public education system, it is also taking over a large, aging school building.
Madam Speaker, the district is understandably concerned about this responsibility. They are understandably anxious to avoid adding to the property tax burden of Yellowknife ratepayers, who already pay more than their fair share of education taxes.
The district has tried to address these concerns by drafting a memorandum of agreement between the district and the government. The chair of the district board, Wendy Bisaro, sent this memorandum to the Minister of Education on August 17th for his signature. The Minister responded in September by saying he had difficulty with signing the agreement. The Minister's letter went on to describe the issues outstanding and the government's position on those issues, which appeared the same as what was set out in the memorandum of agreement of August 17th.
Madam Speaker, Yellowknife Education District No. 1 is concerned about the Sir John transfer. Taxes collected from Yellowknife ratepayers are already far higher than those collected elsewhere in the Northwest Territories compared to the total funding of local schools. The average Yellowknife home owner pays four to seven times as much education tax as does the average NWT home owner outside of Yellowknife. The percentage of total school funding, paid by education property taxes, is 10 times higher in Yellowknife than the rest of the NWT on average.
Madam Speaker, for instance, an average three-bedroom house in Rankin Inlet -- say the type that an MLA might live in -- will be assessed in 1994 annual school taxes of $118.14. A similar house in Cambridge Bay would be assessed at $116.55. In Iqaluit, the owner of such a house will pay $189.62 this year. Madam Speaker, I am about to run out of time, so I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.