Finding the right educational solution without compromising the needs of the students

Chief Matthews Elementary expansion went from 28th on a long list of schools awaiting funding, to the number one position overnight.

If there’s a hat trick in politics, Old Massett’s Chief Ken Rea just pulled one off.

Since 2006 his council has struggled with the federal government’s failed intent to expand Chief Matthews Elementary with more classrooms and a dedicated gymnasium.

But through a partnership with three branches of government, the Old Massett Village Council, the Province of B.C. and Ottawa, that expansion may finally—finally—see a start date.

Usually the more levels of government you add to  a problem, or a project, the more likely the moving parts will jam.

But somehow this project seems to be showing all the right signs for success. Ottawa was backlogged with First Nations’ school projects, but if someone else—the province—could kick in a little money, it might inspire the bookkeepers to expedite the process. Think what we will about the federal government’s obligations to First Nations, but at greater issue was the needs of children, and Mr. Rea really must be acknowledged for taking the lead and getting something done.

At the funding announcement for a feasibility study last week, Premier Christy Clark made several references to Mr. Rea’s dedication. Later asked by the Observer why she herself travelled to Haida Gwaii, rather than send a deputy minister, or minister as one would expect, she replied: “Ken Rea is one of the most tenacious First Nations leaders in the province. He told me I had to come, and that’s why I came. I wanted to honour the community and honour him by being a part of this today.”

Yes, she quite generous with her compliments, but the takeaway is there: Mr. Rae was the spearhead in this partnership, and it earned him significant respect in the process.

As we’re all too aware, life on Haida Gwaii often requires compromise one day and unique solutions to common needs the next.

It’s easy to look at the Premier’s attendance as an important political appearance in an NDP stronghold, but we’re withholding skepticism as the words accompanying this visit hit the right notes: “The lawyers and the bureaucrats are always worried about who’s responsible for these things,” she said. “What I think about is, how do we improve outcomes for the kids? This is a great school and we want to invest in that.”

Chief Matthews Elementary went from 28th on a long list of schools awaiting funding, to the number one position overnight.

Mr. Rea certainly found his solution, but without compromising any of the school’s needs.

Well done.

 

Just Posted

Adverse weather forces ferry schedule change

Thursday’s Skidegate to Prince Rupert route affected

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Coast Mountain College announces interim president

Ken Burt, current president and CEO, will say goodbye to CMNT come September

Queen Charlotte crackdown

RCMP target impaired driving amidst rising numbers of the offence

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

B.C. music teacher accused of sexual misconduct involving girls

Police believe other victims could be out there after the arrest of Lamar Victor Alviar

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man on trial for daughters’ murders says an intruder broke in

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Most Read