Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange and Minister of Indigenous Relations Rick Wilson issued the following statement on federal funding for Exshaw School:
“We are extremely concerned by the federal government’s recent decision to terminate the funding agreement for First Nations students attending Exshaw School without a plan to work with these students, their families, or the Canadian Rockies School Division. This short-sighted decision has forced Canadian Rockies School Division to vote in favour of repurposing the school.
“Exshaw School has been supported by federal funding since 1973. Roughly 99 per cent of the students attending the school are from Stoney Nakoda First Nation.
“In December, we wrote to Marc Miller, federal Minister of Indigenous Services, expressing our concern about the decision and urged him to reconsider this funding decision. To date, our requests have gone unanswered.
“This decision by the federal government is not an effective or appropriate way to support the education needs of First Nations students. It will eliminate this important educational choice for a significant number of First Nations families, which may in turn have a detrimental impact on the students attending the school.
“The federal government must step up and support Exshaw School. We urge Minister Miller to provide adequate funding, and to immediately begin working with the Canadian Rockies School Division and the Stoney Education Authority – as well as affected parents and families – to ensure Exshaw School can remain open and continue to provide high-quality education to First Nations students.”