New study to study what the old study studied

Spending buckets more money to decide whether to replace or rebuild FH Collins Secondary School raises several questions, says NDP education critic…

Spending buckets more money to decide whether to replace or rebuild FH Collins Secondary School raises several questions, says NDP education critic Steve Cardiff.

The government has initiated another $200,000 education study when it hasn’t released and discussed an old one, said Cardiff in a recent interview.

“The mandate on this new study looks at FH Collins and what kind of programming needs to be in place at FH and other schools,” he said.

“There are things in the Education Reform Project draft report that talk about curriculum.

“The government hasn’t even decided or made known its views on the Education Reform Project.”

The new, $200,000 study will review programming at Whitehorse secondary schools. It is scheduled for completion in June 2008.

The two-year, $1.5-million reform project’s final report has not been tabled and no timeline for completion has been given by Education Minister Patrick Rouble.

A copy of the reform projects’ draft report, which was completed in August and contains a number of programming recommendations, was leaked to the media (it is available at www.yukon-news.com, October 19th edition).

The government is collecting bids for the new programming study. The tender closes on November 29.

According to the new study’s terms of reference, dated October 31, the programming review is a follow-up to an $80,000 school facilities study completed by Hold Fast Consultants of British Columbia in June.

In that study, Hold Fast pegged the costs of refurbishing FH at $12 million. Costs to replace it were estimated at $16 million.

Both estimates were in 1996 dollars and actual costs would likely be much higher as construction costs have tripled, and a decision on the future of the building should be put on hold pending further study, stated the Hold Fast report.

Consultants doing the new study will be reviewing the entire secondary school system’s programming and helping to draft a “vision” and a strategic plan, according to the study’s terms of reference.

“Before decisions are made concerning the size, capacity and programming for this new (FH Collins) school, or renovations, the department must consider the needs of the entire system,” state the terms of reference.

“This study will represent the first step in that process …” .

Consultants for the new study will be required to do a literature review on best practices, do an inventory on existing secondary school programs and gather input from Education department staff, teachers, parents, First Nations and stakeholders from Whitehorse and the communities.

Whitehorse currently maintains five secondary schools.

FH Collins currently has 647 students. Porter Creek Secondary School has 678.

Other schools are smaller with 445 students enrolled at Vanier secondary, 128 on the roster at the Individual Learning Centre and a mere 17 high school students at Ecole Emilie Tremblay.

The Education Reform Project’s draft report recommended making several changes to the territory’s secondary education system.

The 150-page report called for the creation of an aboriginal secondary school and more classroom minutes set aside for instruction of First Nations curricula.

The report also called for more trades programming, increased funding for tutors and teaching assistants, and a lengthening of the school year.

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