Government funding promises not enough to fill empty school lots

CALGARY, AB (March 31, 2015): Dr. Swann says the recent government’s pre-election school funding announcements are not a guarantee new schools will be built on time.

In January, Dr. Swann called on the government to allocate the necessary funds in the budget to ensure schools are built. However, claims that funding equates construction are highly dubious and are more about electioneering than proper planning.

“We called on the government to commit this funding, but that doesn’t mean these projects are on track,” says Swann. “I disagree with the premier. More promises are not confirmation that the government has kept their word.

“Having schools completed with their doors open by next year is what Albertans were promised, and this is clearly not going to be the case.”

In 2012, the government promised to build 50 new schools and modernize 70 more by 2016. Prentice increased that amount to 56 additional new schools and another 21 modernizations by 2018.

MLA Kent Hehr says none of these newly announced school projects are anywhere close to having shovels in the ground.

“The government is just managing to follow through on  projects,” says Hehr. “Claiming any success for them as a result of this new administration is simply dishonest. Not a single school promised since 2012 has been built, and the government keeps kicking the can down the road on the other schools until after the next provincial election.”

We believe the government made both sets of schools announcements for political purposes, not based on prior planning or actual capacity to complete the projects. They continue to mislead Albertans by insisting these schools are on track when, clearly, they are not.

“The government is still playing politics with our education system,” says Swann. “This has to stop, but I suspect these sorts of announcements on the taxpayer time and dime will continue until the writ is dropped.

“Albertans deserve trusted leadership, not political gamesmanship.”