Whitehorse Daily Star

No cuts planned for Wood Street Centre, minister vows

The territorial government is assuring Yukoners that there will be no cuts to programming for the Wood Street Centre in Whitehorse.

By Palak Mangat on November 5, 2018

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.

See letter.

Comments (3)

Up 5 Down 0

Regan O'Reiley on Nov 7, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Speaking of money did the ADM recently let go get a pay out?

Up 9 Down 3

Jim Cleaver on Nov 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Not sure how the government expects education and schools to cut from their budgets while enrolment rises along with the population. If Wood Street school is being utilized to its potential then leave it alone. The kids that I knew that went there were not family of doctors or lawyers or elitists. I believe they had to excel in science, math or music but I could be wrong. The department of education should be concerned with all students graduating, not just First Nations or youth at risk. The bottom line is that education and health should remain a government top priority. If they have to make cuts there are lots of places where there is waste, trust me. Maybe not giving themselves raises would be a good place to start.

Up 8 Down 8

We'll see... on Nov 5, 2018 at 9:45 pm

Not saying that the Wood St. programs are not successful---they are for all who are lucky enough to get into them. But...who mainly attends those programs? How many First Nations/at risk students are accepted into those programs, especially MAD, ACES or ES? Aren't the FN students and the at risk the ones the dept. should be helping to ensure success and adequate graduation rates--do the elite families really need all of these private school opportunities? Easy to cater to the children of the lawyers, teachers, doctors and elitist families, and to the French EET families, who already have their own school and programs, and bump the French Immersion kids out of the French immersion Wood St. programs. Now everybody is in a uproar at the thoughts that their children will not have elitist opportunities in their educational futures.....and this government is so top heavy in education that the ship is going to sink. What about teachers and EA's? And subs? and classrooms at over flowing schools? Let's get the students some help and do away with the multitude of admin. positions which are redundant and don't help the students.

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