With such a small population, and what seems to be the inevitable decline in transfer payments from the federal government, it is in our best interest to keep government bureaucracy to a minimum here in Yukon. Yes, all governments cost money to run and people are not perfect, which means there is going to be some inevitable waste. But it is incumbent upon the territorial government to be vigilant in stopping it whenever it is brought to their attention.
To that end I wish to point out the money that seemingly available to be wasted by the Department of Education, with little to no accountability. As a citizen in Mayo I was amazed to see that the department could so easily, for politically expedient reasons, create a new teaching position in September 2016, for a small handful of students after years of underfunding the educational assistant positions in the school. Our school has many hard-working, dedicated teachers, and previous administrations had more students, fewer teachers, and fewer EAs.
Then, even more amazingly, they created a new vice principal position and elevated a teacher to this position. The justification for these changes and additions has never been communicated to parents in the community, but on paper they seem to make no sense. I understand that the Department of Education is $17 million dollars in the red. I would hope there would be some significant hurdles to leap before such lavish spending can be justified. And if it really is so easy to create positions like this, why have they not done this in the past, when there were more students and greater need?
From the perspective of the department, they get complaints from certain parents and in an effort to solve the problem, throw money at the issue and hope it goes away. In fairness, truly fixing the problem would take honesty and major political effort, which is risky (and politicians are, by nature, risk-adverse). The political playbook dictates that they throw enough money at it to be able to say “look, we did something about it,” and then hope the problem stays away long enough for it to become the next government’s issue.
Money is never going to solve this problem though. All this is doing is costing us more of our hard-earned tax dollars.