North/South education costs don’t compare: Yukon government

The Yukon government is dismissing a study on education spending, saying comparing spending in Yukon to that of B.C. or Alberta is neither fair nor accurate.

The Yukon education department is dismissing a study that raises concerns about the cost of education in the North. It says comparing Yukon to places like B.C. and Alberta is neither fair nor accurate.

Former Education professor Rodney Clifton did the study on education spending in Canada for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg.

He says northern jurisdictions like Yukon spend far more than their southern counterparts -- almost twice as much as B.C.

Clifton questions whether that's necessary.

But Mark Hill in Yukon's education department says the territory provides much more than most jurisdictions.

“The teacher-student ratio, which is the envy of most of the Canada,” he cites, “and then a large number of educational assistants and remedial tutors. There is something like, between the two something like 180 in the system in the Yukon, so there's a lot more support in the classroom.”

Hill says large population centres in B.C. also lower the cost per student.

“There are something like 57 school bus routes for the Vancouver area whereas Whitehorse alone has 40 routes, so it's quite unfair and inaccurate to compare overall.”

He says it's more accurate to compare Yukon to school districts in northern B.C. where the costs are similar.