A new $12-million French high school in Bedford has been bumped ahead of other schools in the province’s school construction plan because of overcrowding and concern for French language rights.
“It’s a question of equality,” deputy education minister Dennis Cochrane said yesterday. “I think there’s a constitutional argument as well.”
He said the French school board, Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, questioned whether francophone students in metro have the same educational opportunities as English students.
“The board makes it very clear to us that these are major issues and there’s court cases all across the country in regard to that,” Cochrane said.
“The province of Nova Scotia wants to make sure that it commits itself to equality of opportunity for students to go to a French first language high school as an English first language high school.”
An offer is on the table to buy land for the school in Bedford.
Announced last May, the French high school is second in line on the province’s current priority list for new school construction. It’s slated to open December 2009, but that’s dependent on how much money is allotted for it in today’s budget.
Waverley-L.C. Skerry Elementary, which the Education Department approved funding for in 2003, is seventh on the list behind Lakeview Consolidated Elementary, which was just recently announced. Both are tentatively scheduled to open September 2010.