February 05, 2014
Change how schools are built to avoid debt and ease record-level overcrowding
EDMONTON, AB (February 5, 2014): A report showing overcrowding has reached an all-time high at Calgary high schools proves the PC government’s obsession with non-competitive, P3 build contracts is bearing real consequences for Alberta students and teachers, Wildrose Infrastructure Critic Drew Barnes said today. Barnes said design-bid-build contracts would enable midsized firms to start building new schools right now. He said the offers are few and far between for P3 contracts, which require large firms to build bundles of many schools at once – effectively pricing out smaller offers.
“Obviously, It’s easier to build three schools than 19,” Barnes said. “Design-bid-build contracts are significantly more manageable and competitive than P3s, and they don’t turnover debt for future generations. They will also get schools built now.” Barnes said despite the PC government’s promise to build 50 new schools last election there still isn’t a single new school project underway. He said the government is attached at the hip to P3s because they work to hide debt by extending financing over the long term. Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said the government’s ploy to hide debt through P3s is leaving schools and teachers to make-do with record-level class sizes and inadequate resources. “Our classrooms are bursting at the seams,” McAllister said. “This hurts the education of our students and creates frustration for our teachers who are forced to do more with less. To think the government is avoiding best practice in order to play politics with infrastructure is disturbing.”