Six Nations of the Grand River closer to taking control of its education system
Deloitte study prices out $2.2 billion needed over 10 years
For years Six Nations of the Grand River has wanted complete control over its education system — and now they say they're closer than ever to making it happen.
Recommendations from both reports say that there's a lack of community control over the system that is led by both the federal and provincial governments, says education manager of Six Nations, Julia Candlish.
"There's a lot of challenges, so what the reports talks about is addressing those challenges through Six Nations recovering full control over the development, establishment and ongoing management of a lifelong education system."
Candlish says a task force of 30 people — all stakeholders in the community's education system, banded together in early 2018.
The group has been mandated to look at the current system and ways to improve it moving forward.
The goal, Candlish says, is to focus on lifelong learning, meaning everything between daycare and adult schooling, not just from kindergarten to grade 12.
According to the Deloitte report, the study had two key aims.
The first was to identify an education system that would meet the current and future needs for Six Nations. The second goal was to provide a high level costing analysis which would identify potential funding needs.
According to the report, $2.2 billion is the recommended amount needed over a decade.
It doesn't forecast needs beyond the next 10 years.
"But what we're looking for is funding in perpetuity," said Candlish.
Candlish says the figure outlines a lot of funding designated for capital and infrastructure.
"Because of the chronic underfunding for education, virtually all of the buildings need to be replaced," said Candlish.
The education manager says there are currently approximately 1,400 students ranging from kindergarten to grade 12, but the goal of the system is to serve all members of the community, providing a structure of lifelong learning.
Six Nations of the Grand River is located in southern Ontario, near Brantford, and about 25 kilometres southwest of Hamilton. It's the largest First Nations reserve in Canada.
With the new information, Candlish says the next step is developing a transition plan for all of the work that needs to be done to develop the system within the community, by the community.
"It would be very challenging for us at this particular time to flip a switch and assume control over education when it's been the federal and provincial governments that have been doing it for so long," she said.
Candlish says she feels hopeful about the funding needed from the federal government and says there's ongoing discussions with Ottawa.
According to Candlish, Six Nation has tried this to take control of its education systems in the past.
"We see what broke down each time in those particular initiatives," she said. "Everything is going to be established by the community."