Wahpeton Embroiled In Lawsuits Over Unpaid Tuition

Monday, August 15, 2005 at 14:54



A Prince Albert-area First Nation hopes taking legal action against the federal government will help settle the band’s dispute with a nearby school division.


Last month, the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division sued the Wahpeton Dakota First Nation for outstanding tuition fees it has yet to receive from the band.


The band owes the school division money for sending reserve kids to Prince Albert to get their education there.


Chief Garry Standing says it’s the band’s position that what is owed to the school division is a direct result of a funding shortfall from Ottawa.


Standing says band auditors are convinced the federal government has been shortchanging the band in education funding over the last several years, and that is why his band launched a lawsuit of its own against Indian Affairs in March.


Standing also says getting the school division to finally agree to a reciprocal tuition agreement would help a great deal.


Under the current agreement, the band can only claim tuition money from the school division for five Prince Albert students getting schooling on the reserve.


Standing says there’s actually a dozen Prince Albert kids getting their education at Wahpeton, but the school division has been unwilling to re-negotiate.


The dispute between the band and the government is headed to mediation in October.