Progress made in francophone school spat

The French school board and the Yukon government have been making headway in the longstanding issue of building a new francophone high school in Whitehorse, says school board president Ludovic Gouaillier.

The French school board and the Yukon government have been making headway in the longstanding issue of building a new francophone high school in Whitehorse, says school board president Ludovic Gouaillier.

“The government has been fairly open and has recognized the need for a new school,” he said.

The board held a fresh round of consultations this summer, gathering input from parents, teachers and students.

It compiled the results into a lengthy report, which the board plans on discussing at its upcoming annual general meeting on Sept. 25.

The report states the government is willing to work towards a deal but needs more clarity on which option the board wants to pursue.

Those options include: enlarging Ecole Emilie Tremblay; building a new school on its property but separate from the existing school; building a new school on the FH Collins campus but separate from it; building a school annexed to FH Collins; and building a stand-alone school elsewhere in the city, ideally closer to downtown.

The report states the school would aim to have space for 150 to 200 students from Grade 8 to 12.

The school board wasn’t looking for a consensus when it held its recent consultations, Gouaillier said. They were only looking to gauge the pulse of the francophone community.

The francophone school board first proposed a new high school in 2007. The school board and Yukon government have been mired in a court battle over the plans since 2009, when the board sued the government, saying that negotiations were going nowhere.

“We’d like to control the whole bit. So programs, facilities, staff, finances,” said school board president Andre Bourcier at the time. “At this point we feel we’re being micromanaged by the government.”

In 2011, the Supreme Court of the Yukon ordered the territorial government to build a new high school for francophones within two years.

In February this year, however, the Yukon Court of Appeal found that ruling may have been biased because the judge had been governor of the Alberta group La Fondation franco-albertaine.

The French school board subsequently asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear its case against the Yukon government.

Despite the animosity in court, discussions between both parties have been positive this year, said Gouaillier.

“Students in the school system in the Yukon need to be put somewhere,” he said.

“In our discussions the government has shown openness in building that school. We simply have to wait for a decision from the Supreme Court.”

He said there is a dire need to get francophone high school students into a bigger school, as Ecole Emilie Tremblay is “bursting at the seams.”

The government has purchased a few portable classrooms to accommodate the excess number of students.

The facilities are temporary, Gouaillier said, because they’re not long-term solutions and the government can’t keep adding them onto the school.

“We still have students set up in places where they ideally shouldn’t be set up,” he said.

“They’re studying in spaces normally used for culinary arts sometimes. The government seems to be coming to terms and recognizing this needs to be rectified.”

The board is always looking for more input leading up to the upcoming meeting, Gouaillier said.

He said he’ll be relieved once this issue has been dealt with.

“But not as relieved as the students will be,” he said.

“It’s something we’re looking forward to resolving in a major way.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

Then Old Crow MLA Darius Elias speak’s in the community centre in Old Crow in 2016. Elias died in Whitehorse on Feb. 17. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News file)
Condolences shared for former Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias

Elias is remembered as a proud parent, hockey fan and politican

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

(Submitted)
History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

(File photo)
RCMP arrest Saskatchewan murder suspect

Yukon RCMP have arrested a man suspected of attempted murder from outside… Continue reading

Most Read