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Deteriorating Classrooms Concern Montreal Band

Florence Poorman

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      APRIL 1977      v07 n04 p31  
The Montreal Lake band council is concerned about the poor school programs and inadequate facilities for the students on the reserve.

J.J. McCarton Associates Ltd., a consulting firm hired by Indian affairs, concluded four classrooms were adequate and did not need major renovations.

But the lower-floor classrooms were totally inadequate because of lack of light, not enough windows, and poor ventilation. Two of these classrooms are in an open area and noise and beating problems exist.

The 200 students - 25 to each room - find the facilities extremely cramped.

The gymnasium now under construction, would serve as convenient space if divided into classrooms. This obviously would defeat the purpose of building the gymnasium, and would not provide proper classroom space.

There is great need for temporary classrooms for the Montreal Lake school.

By September, the band council will take over administration of the school. Programming has been inadequate and the band wishes to improve physical education and provide high school to grade 12 by 1978-79.

Space is required if a wider range of subjects is to be offered. Cree language and culture, special English and Math programs, and Indian history which is now offered on a minimal scale.

minimal scale are some of the subjects under consideration.

If children not now in school are attracted back by new programs, there would not be enough space to put them in. Lack of a library is a serious handicap to any school, and particularly to Cree cultural and historical programs.

The new gymnasium will attract students by improving the sports and physical education programs. Expected school enrolment next year is about 203. Existing facilities will not serve the needs of a school population which is expected to expand even more.

There is a desperate need for two temporary classrooms until such time as the department of Indian affairs sees fit to provide a permanent structure. These classrooms could replace the two worst basement rooms. This would relieve the pressure for space.

The Montreal Lake band has taken the responsibility of providing an improved education for the young people on the reserve. Unless the department of Indian affairs is willing to provide even the minimal two temporary classrooms, it will be condemning students to a year of crowded conditions and frustration.

More meetings with Indian affairs are planned.