Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Hay River District Education Authority and their efforts to alter the governance structure of the Hay River education district. Mr. Speaker, on October 6, 2000, the Hay River District Education Authority put forward a position to the Honourable Jake Ootes, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment, requesting the creation of a Hay River and area education division and divisional education council. This request, Mr. Speaker, is being made with a desire to streamline the administration of resources and maximize the results of programs and services they deliver. Mr. Speaker, the Hay River District Education Authority is comprised of a very dedicated group of volunteers and I commend them for the excellent job they perform week after week.
As you are probably aware, Mr. Speaker, Hay River is presently part of the South Slave region, which is headquartered out of Fort Smith. From day one, Mr. Speaker, this arrangement has proven problematic for Hay River and area. In 1997, the Hay River DEA proposed that each DEA negotiate its own individual agreement regarding the sharing of powers with the South Slave Divisional Education Council.
However, Mr. Speaker, in April of 1998, a motion to accept a single sharing of power agreement was passed by the South Slave Divisional Education Council by a vote of four to one with Hay River opposed. This motion, Mr. Speaker, closed the door to change within the existing structure and has compelled the Hay River DEA to petition for an alternate government model.
Mr. Speaker, 52 percent of the students in the South Slave region are based in Hay River. To this end, I feel strongly that Hay River should have local control over its resources. Mr.
Speaker, I am very much an advocate of having more control of resources at the community level. The community of Hay River is simply trying to take the next step in the evolution of community empowerment.
Mr. Speaker, Hay River is a very large and diverse community. By allowing the local education authority control over its own resources, it would be better able to focus on the concerns of the community it serves. Mr. Speaker, I believe that if the Hay River District Education Authority were granted control over their own schools, then this would provide for quicker and more efficient decision-making. It would also provide programming that better serves the needs of the multicultural makeup of Hay River.
Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.