FSIN education report points to inequity
Students attending reserve schools get about half the government money other students do, according to a report from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations that compares federal and provincial spending in the province.
The FSIN asked former Regina school superintendent Bob Kowalchuk to compare the money for reserve students, and money for those in the rest of the province.
Reserve schools get their money from Ottawa. Other schools get it from the province.
Kowalchuk says reserve schools get $50 a pupil from the federal government for books and computers while off-reserve, some schools spend more than $600 per student.
"Two classrooms of kids — one has resources, one does not have resources," he said. "Tell me, where is the fairness in what you are providing for kids and able to achieve in outcomes?"
Kowalchuk said Ottawa would have to double its spending to close the gap between reserve schools and other schools.
FSIN vice-chief Simon Bird, a vice-chief with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, said dollars spent on education today can pay off down the line.
"If we continue to avoid funding our First Nations people, we're going to have more unemployment, higher social costs in the future," he said. "And we don't want that."
The report also shows that First Nations students have higher graduation rates when they stay at reserve schools.