In the throes of a ribbon-cutting frenzy that lasted from Aug. 23 to 27, Premier Alison Redford and the ministers of Education and Infrastructure opened nine new schools across Alberta. Six more are scheduled to come online for the 2012-2013 school year.
Five of the new facilities are in Calgary. Ted Harrison School, Twelve Mile Coulee School, Captain Nichola Goddard School and Nose Creek School are all in the city’s far north communities, while St. Isabella School is in Copperfield on the southeast edge of town. All are elementary-junior high schools, offering grades four or five to nine. Schools also opened in Okotoks, Langdon, and Edmonton. They will all be welcoming the first students in September.
Alberta Liberal Education Critic Kent Hehr criticized the government for tying these new schools to Conservative campaign promises made in April. Redford and the PCs told voters they would put an additional $2.4 billion into education including building 50 new schools across the province. Hehr says the 15 new schools were originally announced in 2010 through the Alberta Schools Alternative Procurement project.
Hehr says that the government is recycling old announcements and he doubts Albertans will believe “that this government planned, budgeted and built eight new schools in less than six months.”
There are currently 327 schools serving 151,182 students in Calgary Catholic and public school districts. According to Alberta Education, province-wide there were roughly 600,000 K-12 students registered in Alberta’s 2,119 schools for the 2011-2012 school year.