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New Education Minister more of the same: Putting bureaucrats ahead of students

CALGARY, AB (September 18, 2014): Education Minister Gordon Dirks chose bureaucrats over students when, as a Calgary Board of Education trustee, he led the push for a $285-million headquarters for the CBE, diverting badly needed funds away from the classroom, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister said today.

According to media reports, Dirks put forward the motion to approve the lease of the facility despite internal documents showing that doing so would require redirecting funds intended to maintain and operate schools.

McAllister said Dirks choosing the comfort of bureaucrats over the quality of education for students fits in with the type of me-first leadership the PC government has become known for.

“Minister Dirks pushed for this palatial headquarters for the CBE, knowing full well that it came at the expense of students in the classroom,” McAllister said. “These kinds of misplaced priorities are, unfortunately, precisely what Albertans have come to expect from the PC government. It looks as though Minister Dirks will be more of the same.”

McAllister likened the 20-year lease on the 200,000-square-foot tower to the Federal Building redevelopment in Edmonton, a $350 million project that will provide office space for government staff and MLAs, as well as a residential suite for the Premier on the top floor.

“The PCs have a history of abusing tax dollars on programs and projects that simply are not priorities for Albertans – and it appears so too does Minister Dirks,” McAllister said. “The money he spent on the Taj Mahal of office space for the CBE could have addressed the growing shortage of classroom space in Calgary. Minister Dirks needs to stop hiding from Albertans and tell them why they should trust him with the future of education in this province.”