Critics renewed their attacks on the construction of a new school in a cabinet minister’s riding yesterday as the province prepared to formally announce the project.
Education Minister Karen Casey will announce $10 million for a new school to replace Lakeview Consolidated Elementary in Porters Lake today, even though the Halifax regional school board had only ever asked for renovations.
“It’s obviously politics,” East Dartmouth-The Lakes Coun. Andrew Younger said. “You have a cabinet minister who has decided he wants a school out there and it will look good on election literature.”
Younger and the province’s two education critics say other schools are in desperate need of upgrades and replacing.
“To think there would be any announcement of a new school prior to handling the crying need in Dartmouth High School really begs the question around the priorities of this government,” Liberal education critic Leo Glavine said.
In the past week, school board superintendent Carole Olsen has said the ultimate decision about capital planning rests with the province.
Education Minister Karen Casey said yesterday that this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last that a renovation is bumped to a new building.
Education department spokesman Dan Harrison said building a new Lakeview Consolidated Elementary is more cost efficient.
Renovations were expected to cost $4.7 million, but the price tag ballooned to $7.2 million because of inflation, he added.
“It was decided that the investment of that additional nearly $3 million to build a new school was a better investment than doing the renovation and having a building that would last only 20 more years,” Harrison said.