The territorial government is assuring Yukoners that there will be no cuts to programming for the Wood Street Centre in Whitehorse.
That’s according to Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, who praised the school late this morning for its experiential learning models.
“We’re not cutting budgets or programs at the Wood Street School,” the minister told the Star.
The program has been successful in providing hands-on experience for its students, noted.
Her remarks come off the heels of a letter addressed to the school’s alumni, among others, urging them to fill out a survey about “how and why Wood Street is unique, effective and a good model for education.”
As reported by CBC North late last week, that letter prefaces the request by saying the government is looking at budget concerns and asking departments to reduce growth and spending.
“Wood Street Centre and its programming are also being scrutinized,” it reads in part.
McPhee quickly put that to bed, saying the two were not connected.
“There are absolutely no plans to do that,” she said, saying she’s not quite sure where the letter came from. “I’m not sure if it’s speculation.”
Also, as reported by the CBC last month, a memo signed by the Finance department’s deputy minister requested that all deputy ministers look at “achieving overall savings of one per cent and directing departments to submit plans to achieve on-going, operations and maintenance savings, of up to two per cent.”
But McPhee assured that those reductions in growth were separate from what may seem like concerns raised about the Wood Street site.
“It’s responsible, in my view, for those departments to be asking how we are meeting the needs of Yukoners,” she said. That can include officials to “question themselves about whether or not we are doing that in the most efficient way possible.
When asked how exactly the department could be impacted by the request to seek reductions in growth, she said it was too early to tell.
“We don’t know the answer to that yet.”
The minister recognized and was sympathetic to parents who may be thinking about any possible cuts to programming, but reiterated again that should not be the case.
“They’re completely two separate issues.
“I don’t know how those two things came together.”
She added one is asking the department to be fiscally responsible as part of the budgetary process, while another is seeking positive feedback on a program that has been successful in years past.
Created in September 1997, Wood Street Centre was originally part of F.H. Collins Secondary School, and serves those in Grades nine to 12 at its Wood Street at Fifth Avenue downtown location – the former home of Christ the King Elementary School.