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Classroom crunch facing Rocky View School division part of wider problem: McAllister

CHESTERMERE, AB (October 3, 2014): The urgent classroom crunch facing the Rocky View School division and communities across Alberta is caused by poor planning by the PC government and their inability to keep their commitment to build new schools, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today.

“If this PC government was busier actually building the schools we need instead of planning photo-ops and installing signs, we wouldn’t have to hear about these classroom shortages facing school boards right across the province,” McAllister said. “Our kids shouldn’t have to be packed like sardines into our schools.  Albertans are looking for a government that can keep its promises and builds the schools we need.”

Today, the Rocky View School Division sent a request to the province asking for $25 million to create more classroom space for students. In East Lake School in Chestermere, the school year started with grades three, four, five and six all sharing the library, and other classes crammed into rooms intended for options.

This brand new P3 School opened this year at 112 per cent capacity, and school officials already say they will need 16 modular classrooms by next year.

“Our provincial government has to be able to react to crises like these, and the success of our education system depends on the ability of the province to provide our kids with an appropriate learning environment. This situation is unacceptable,” McAllister said.

Under the Wildrose Moving Alberta Forward: Excellence in Education policy, the Wildrose would invest $2 billion in funding for new schools, modulars and modernizations.

McAllister said it’s disappointing that instead of addressing the priorities facing our education system, Premier Jim Prentice appointed an unelected cabinet minister who is now busier canvassing for votes than focusing on the challenges facing our schools.

“What frustrates me is that the two people who should be working to solve this crisis are out of the picture and more focused on politics than getting results for kids,” McAllister said.  “This is just more of the same. Minister of Education Gordon Dirks is out door knocking in Calgary-Elbow, and Premier Prentice is travelling the province looking more like Santa Claus, handing out gifts that have already been given out.”