It’s been a long time since the community has heard the words ‘education jurisdiction’ uttered. Seabird was once at the forefront of education jurisdiction, which would give the community control of the education their children receive on reserve – allowing us to govern curriculum, set qualifications for staff and balance cultural practices with in-class activities and homework.
With education jurisdiction, Seabird Island Community School would continue to teach the provincial curriculum with the added benefit of adding in more cultural pieces.
“It was the dream of our grandparents had when our parents, uncles and aunts were small – to have a school in the community teaching what we want them to know in addition to maintaining the provincial curriculum,” explained Councillor Stacy McNeil. However, talks abruptly ended with the previous Conservative government threatening to restrict funding dollars for education.
“Negotiations stopped for a long time because under the previous government they introduced own-source revenue and said that if we got education jurisdiction our dollars would be less. So, that kind of halted everything. Under the new Liberal government, they opened up the doors and negotiations started again.”
Now, Seabird has until September 2018 to formally decide if we want to have control over education.
“Staff are developing plans to start re-engaging the community and informing them of what’s going on so they’re familiar with what education jurisdiction means. That’s key to working up to a possible referendum for the community.” Community Members can expect to see more information, monthly events and activities to re-open the discussion.