Snuneymuxw and Nanaimo school district ratify education partnership

NANAIMO – Agreement provides support for language and cultural education materials.

Nanaimo school district and Snuneymuxw First Nation have ratified an education agreement.

The deal, which runs until the end of June 2017, defines the relationship between the two, areas of mutual responsibility and agreed upon schedule for payment for the purchase of education programs and services by the First Nation, according to Laura Tait, district director of instruction.

Terms include the board providing Snuneymuxw students the opportunity to sign up in classes that will enable them to graduate and move on to post-secondary education.

The district will not be able to transfer students to adjusted level courses, unless adhering to assessment and placement guidelines, including parental approval and a report detailing reasons.

Students with potential to leave school early will be offered “appropriate alternative educational services.”

In conjunction with the board, Snuneymuxw will develop language and culturally related materials, which can be used to teach students.

The First Nation will provide lists of resource people with knowledge of the culture to the board.

Snuneymuxw also will be obligated to pay annual tuition fees to the school board.

Tait said tuition for every student living off reserve comes from the Ministry of Education to school districts.

For status First Nations students who live on reserve, but attend public schools off reserve, Tait said funding comes from the federal government, through Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, to the First Nation and to the school district, based on terms outlined in the agreement.

“The First Nation also receives funding from [Aboriginal Affairs] for students attending on-reserve, band-run schools,” said Tait.

There are approximately 100 Snuneymuxw students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, said the school district.