CALGARY, AB (October 2, 2014): Today in Calgary-West, Wildrose Education Critic Bruce McAllister along with Calgary-West candidate Sheila Taylor announced a Wildrose commitment to tackle Alberta’s classroom shortage by investing $2 billion over four years into new schools, modernization and maintenance.
“Wildrose is committed to building more than just starter schools, but the full schools Alberta students need today and in the future,” McAllister said. “Albertans are ready to send the PCs a message that they want real action on classrooms for our kids instead of broken promises and more of the same from a tired and out-of-touch PC government.”
While serving as a trustee on the Calgary Board of Education, Calgary-Elbow PC candidate Gordon Dirks chose bureaucrats over students when he led the push to sink $285 million into a lease for new CBE office space. Documents show that this money came at the expense of maintaining and operating schools.
Taylor, a current CBE trustee and former chair, pushed for investigation into the lease shortly after being elected to the board in 2010. She said she’s committed to getting dollars to the frontlines and building the classrooms Alberta needs.
“That one decision by Mr. Dirks to put resources into office space over classrooms has impacted what happens in schools across the city every single day,” Taylor said. “Students need new schools right now and that’s why I’m running for Danielle Smith and the Wildrose party. Only Wildrose has a clear plan to put students first and build what is needed.”
As part of the commitment, the Wildrose will:
- Complete all school projects currently announced by the provincial government;
- Accelerate building and maintenance projects by permitting all qualified Alberta construction companies, both large and small, to bid on individual school projects. This will create more competition, lower costs, and speed up completion dates;
- Refrain from the use of P3 school bundles which do not save money and unnecessarily delay school completion dates
McAllister says the PC government’s insistence on bundling school construction contracts together has meant major delays for getting shovels into the ground.
“We’ve seen a lot of Building Alberta signs pop up across the province, but not a whole lot of schools,” McAllister said. “A Wildrose government will build the schools we need by opening up bidding to all qualified firms to get the best deal for taxpayers and get classrooms open as soon as possible.”