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School funding comes under fire

All schools on the province’s construction list received funding inthis week’s budget, but NDP education critic Percy Paris says he’sstill concerned about “queue jumping.”

All schools on the province’s construction list received funding in this week’s budget, but NDP education critic Percy Paris says he’s still concerned about “queue jumping.”

“We want every new school, new construction to stand on its own merit and not based on what political party you’re a member of,” Paris said.

Paris is concerned because a phone call from a cabinet minister led to a new $10.4 million school that the school board hadn’t even requested.

Education officials said this week that Tourism Minister Bill Dooks called the department to ask them to look into whether Lakeview Consolidated Elementary in his area of Porters Lake should be renovated or rebuilt. Building fresh was determined to be a better investment.

The decision has been widely condemned by critics who say it reeks of unfairness.

In this week’s budget, Waverley-LC Skerry Elementary — which has been on the province’s school capital construction list since 2003 — received $200,000 for design and planning.

Lakeview Consolidated Elementary, announced last month, received $700,000 for site selection.

Both are scheduled to open in September 2010.

“Lakeview got ($500,000) more because we’re anticipating having to buy land,” Education Department spokesman Dan Harrison said. “Where Waverley-LC Skerry, we’re anticipating that we can build on the same site.”

Harrison said all projects on the province’s school construction list are on schedule to open on their completion dates. Glace Bay Junior High has the potential to be delayed due to geological testing that has to take place, he added. “The site selection process is taking longer than we expected,” Harrison said.

lindsay.jones@metronews.ca

 
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