Local authorities nix school swap in Hay River, N.W.T.

Parents in the community have told school boards they don't like proposal to re-assign students between French and English schools.

Parents in the community have told school boards they don't like proposal

Many parents in Hay River, N.W.T., are opposing a government proposal to re-assign students between the French and English school buildings.

The territorial government's proposed deal would see students from the French École Boréale move into the English Harry Camsell school.

The move is to satisfy a 2012 court order that the government provide equal facilities for French students.

But this week both the Hay River District Education Authority and the Commission scolaire francophone declined to sign off on the government's plan.

The president of the Commission scolaire francophone, Suzette Montreuil, says the group had no choice.

"In recognition of the parents concern about how a school swap would be perceived by the entire community and their desire to continue to build and solidify harmonious relations,” says Montreuil.

If the territorial government were to comply with the court order, a gymnasium and other specialty rooms would have to be added to  École Boréale. The government estimates that will cost about $13 million.

Instead, the government has appealed the decision in court. It will be heard later this month.

Education Minister Jackson Lafferty says he will meet with the two Hay River MLAs next week to tell them how he will proceed.