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Yk1 to shed teaching jobs

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 office, May 2014 NNSL photo

In an April budget meeting for the Yk 1 school board, shareholders and attendees heard there will be a reduction of hours for educators in some city schools.

Yellowknife Education District No. 1 office, May 2014 NNSL photo
Yellowknife Education District No. 1 office, May 2014
NNSL photo

A document provided at the meeting outlined that there would be a “reduction of 2.15 teachers in schools” as well as a reduction of two junior kindergarten staff and hours for a French librarian and French teacher.

Tram Do, director of finance and corporate services for Yk 1, explained that the reduction of positions will not result in any layoffs or terminations.

“Really there will be no layoffs because every year we have staff that retires,” said Do. “We bring staffing in line with student needs, so in this case we won't be replacing staff that's leaving.”

Initially the school board had anticipated an increase of 100 students by September of 2018 and staffed accordingly, but had only seen an increase of 52 students.

Every year, staffing needs are adjusted based on enrolment and Do said the board's budget is fairly fluid.

Exact enrolment numbers are not completely confirmed until Sept. 30 and can amend the budget if more staff is required.

“We have a very healthy surplus of $1.1 million in the budget,” she said. “If the needs for the students increases and we have an influx higher than projected, we can add positions to meet the needs of the kids.”

Staff changes also saw the reduction of one Indigenous language and culture assistant position due to the loss of funding from the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre.

“That funding is what we apply for year to year, but as of today we do not have the funding,” said Do.

Scott Willoughby, the Indigenous language and culture-based education co-ordinator for YK1 says the funding they were receiving from Tree of Peace was part of a three-year program that has reached its end.

“With that funding, the district was able to hire two cultural support workers who have helped bolster Indigenous language and culture in our classrooms,” he said. “Because of their contributions to our schools, Yk 1 has committed to retaining these staff using other district funding.”

Willoughby confirmed there would be no staff reductions in his department for the 2019-2020 school year.