N.W.T. court orders new gyms, labs for French schools
An N.W.T. Supreme Court judge has ordered new gyms, laboratories and daycare facilities for French schools in the territory.
Justice Louise Charbonneau issued her decision in a lawsuit between N.W.T.'s francophone school board and the N.W.T. government June 1.
"I'm feeling very happy. Both decisions concluded that the government has to build an expansion to both francophone schools in Yellowknife and in Hay River, so that was a great start," said Roger LePage, the legal counsel for the francophone school board.
The government now has to develop a construction schedule by June 21 for the schools in Hay River and Yellowknife, and the gyms and industrial arts facilities are ready for use by Sept. 1.
The ruling also affirmed the francophone school board has the power to decide who attends its schools. That power was removed by a 2008 government directive.
The government must also provide more space for the French daycares and preschools within the school buildings themselves.
"It was seen as a form of reparation that is needed to right the wrongs of the past and the court recognized that the daycares and the preschool programs are essential to teach French to the children so they’re ready to start studying in French once they attain the Grade 1 level," said LePage.
LePage said the government has until September 2015 to do all of the work. He said meetings between the school board and government should begin shortly.