This is page numbers 115 - 148 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 7th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was chairman.

Topics

Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

February 16th, 1995

Page 124

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment and I would like to get some straight answers today. I would like to ask the Minister does the new student residence funding formula -- which the boards have been given notice of this December -- contemplate the department continuing to fund large residences in regional centres? Yes or no.

Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Minister of Education, Mr. Nerysoo.

Return To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just for clarification -- and I'll give you the straight answer -- the fact is the formula which was provided in December was a draft formula that was provided to the boards for discussion. It was to provide certainty in the amount of resources that would be provided so there was fairness and equity in the distribution of those resources. That was the basis on which that funding was provided. Secondly, the contract for review was to determine future use for the buildings, the options for the buildings and considerations of whether or not there would be a need for smaller residences, the continuation of the residences, home boarding or whatever other options there might be. If there was a decision to close the residences, the question was then, what are the alternative uses.

The honourable Member, in fact, at one time, made the suggestion to close Ukiivik and using it for Arctic College. If that was one of the options considered, we would consider it. But, until the report is concluded, I'm not going to indicate that we have made any final decisions. I believe the report will give us suggestions, at which time I will take that report and its recommendations for final decision before I make any final concluding comments on this matter.

Return To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Supplementary, Mr. Patterson.

Supplementary To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 125

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, these boards need to know what money they have, early on, for April 1st. They should know now if they have to lay off staff, for example, on April 1st. I would like to ask the Minister again, in getting the draft for discussion in December now, today, as these boards plan their fiscal years, isn't the new funding formula designed and targeted to smaller residences with house parents as staff? Isn't that what it says? Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Nerysoo.

Further Return To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

It is one of the considerations, yes.

Further Return To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Supplementary, Mr. Patterson.

Supplementary To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 125

Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Mr. Speaker, the Minister's strategy to 2010 document says close the regional student residences. We raised alarm about this. We asked if this was the case and we were assured all options were open. I would like to ask the Minister if the real hidden agenda here -- putting aside, "I haven't made the final decision yet; we are awaiting the options for future uses of the buildings," putting aside all this evasive discussion -- is to close the larger residences in Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet and Inuvik, why doesn't the Minister just come out and say, this is the department's strategy, this is how the new funding formula is laid out? Why doesn't he just tell us now instead of letting us believe that nothing has been decided? Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 125

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Nerysoo.

Further Return To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The decision in the strategy is quite clear, that it is our intention to move from regional residences to high school programming in the communities. That was the direction that the honourable Member, in fact during his tenure as Minister, laid out the groundwork for. This is no different, Mr. Speaker, than his decision, when he was Minister, of closing the residences in Fort McPherson, Fort Good Hope, Bompas Hall in Fort Simpson and Grandin College. The fact is, the direction of high school programs in the communities is the reflection of the foundation he left. What we're doing is following up on the direction that he laid.

The point he is raising is an important one. The point is, we needed a draft formula with which we could conduct discussions with the boards. It also needed to have the comments of the boards. I can advise the honourable Member that the three remaining large residences have seen their enrolments decrease, and the economic factors are such that

the average costs of fully operating the large residences right now is $75,000 per year per student.

Now, the honourable Member knows that while I wish to move the students back to their home communities, I will not do it at the risk of programs. He raised the point as an issue in our visit to Iqaluit: the problem of matriculation programming in the communities. That is all part of the consideration and I'm not prepared to make a final decision now. The fact is, the boards don't give the lay-off notices; it works through the government and at this particular time we have issued no lay-off notices to anyone.

Further Return To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 125

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Final supplementary, Mr. Patterson.

Supplementary To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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Dennis Patterson Iqaluit

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, if housing these students from small communities where the advanced diploma is not available at present -- and I assume high school programs in communities includes the advanced diploma -- in group homes with house parents turns out to be the preferable alternative in communities like Iqaluit, Inuvik and Rankin Inlet -- if I dare speak about other communities other than my own -- where I know housing is at a premium and no obvious housing alternatives exist like group homes -- there is tremendous pressure on housing -- would the Minister agree that it will take some time to plan and implement this new direction, certainly more than a few months? Will the Minister agree it will take more than a few months to implement these new alternatives, and these boards need a lot more notice than a few months? Thank you.

Supplementary To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

Page 125

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Mr. Nerysoo.

Further Return To Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Question 72-12(7): New Student Residence Funding Formula
Item 6: Oral Questions

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Richard Nerysoo Mackenzie Delta

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I believe that the honourable Member has pointed out an important component that needs further discussion. You must remember, Mr. Speaker, and the honourable Member must recognize, that the school program runs up to June. We have some time to manoeuvre between the end of March to the end of the school year. I cannot say to the honourable Member we may not consider closing the residences because I have not seen the recommendations of the report. But I've also suggested to the honourable Member that I will consider all factors before I make a final decision, and I've been trying to indicate that to all Members of this House, that we have not made any final decisions because we have not got the recommendations.

I think the honourable Member...(inaudible)...and his advice in the review would do well to consider and provide that information, and we will consider it.