Chair Trent Derrick brought the matter to the board earlier this month and it was passed unanimously.
“This is a joyous occasion,” said Vice Chair Shuirose Valimohamed, in a release posted to the district’s website.
It is also being hailed by Takla’s education councillor William Korolyk.
“The signing of the LEA with School District 57 is something that has never been done before for our nation,” he said. “We have worked with the district for a few years in negotiation to make this agreement a possibility. It will give us a better understanding of what our nation needs from the school district to support all our students, particularly those that are coming out of the reserve to attend schools in Prince George. The agreement will provide opportunities for the nation to work together with the district on different areas of First Nations
The LEA with School District 57 is an important procedure to enhance the accountability to achieve a strong working relationship between the nation and the school board, according to Takla’s Education Coordinator Holly West.
“Takla Nation worked hard to get this in place to better support the needs of our students that are living on reserve and attending public schools off-reserve,” she said. “This agreement will help break down any barriers that may arise, have more opportunities for our students to receive an appropriate education and bring a brighter future for our students.”
Takla Nation and the school cistrict have been in negotiations for two years. Representatives from Takla and district staff met several times to develop the local education agreement outlining the commitments and shared responsibility for First Nation student success, which includes academics, culture, language, emotional and physical learning.
The agreement between Takla Nation and School District 57 is the third local education agreement for School District 57. In 2017, Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and McLeod Lake Indian Band signed agreements with the school district. However, both the Lheidli T’enneh and McLeod Lake Indian Band are pushing for Indigenous seats at the board level, claiming local education agreements don’t work for them. New agreements will need to be re-negotiated in the upcoming school year.