This is an archived site. For the latest news, visit us at our new home:



Funding for education still debated

By Caitlin Brezinski


Photo By Caitlin Brezinski. Don Morgan, Saskatchewan's minister of education, is in favour of P3 funding for new schools.




Public private partnership funding for building schools is a model that is still being debated.


Although the provincial budget seemed to be shying away from the P3 model, education minister Don Morgan does not see it halting anytime soon.


“The P3 model works really well for new schools and new areas,” he said. “The ones we announced today, two of them are out of town and they're rebuilds of existing schools, plus the two in Regina are essentially new schools but on an existing site."


NDP education critic Trent Wotherspoon is concerned that the government is continuing with the model and that it won't put forward an affordable plan to build and own schools that the province needs.


“This is an approach that costs more, delays construction, and forfeits community control so it's nothing more than a rent-a-school scheme,” he said.


While the government is offering $4.1 million to plan four new schools, Wotherspoon has concerns that the money isn’t going to go towards any building or repairs that are needed in the province.


“Connaught needs funding, they deserve that funding, Sacred Heart does, and so do the other schools. The long term care projects that (the government) announced back in 2009 are still not built. The North Central Shared Facility that was announced in 2007 has never been funded, and never been built,” he said.


Construction funding is in the future for Connaught but may not arrive in time to keep the school open in September.


Rene Dumont, chair of Save our Connaught Heritage, is not surprised with the decisions of the provincial government but is still working towards keeping the school open at least another year.


“We were hoping to have some sort of task force put together between the provincial government, the school board and the community. Closing the school at the end of the school year is no plan whatsoever and we'd still like to explore the possibility of repairing the school,” he said.


With no rebuild money on the immediate horizon, $20,000 is needed to repair the school to make it usable for another year. Dumont said community fundraisers are halfway there and are hoping the government will match the money they have raised. The decision rests with the school board, however, which will be making a final decision on March 25.


While the lifespan of Connaught remains an uncertainty, Wotherspoon is hoping that the government will be keeping up with the upcoming projects that are being planned.


“It's good that we see the print in the budget here today, what's more important is making sure that they're going to be funded, and we’ll be tracking that and following up,” he said.


As for the continuation of the P3 model, Wotherspoon said they will be monitoring the government’s actions.


“We'll continue to bring pressure forward, continue to work with the community, call for a plan that makes sense from a financial perspective and certainly that isn't the P3 rent-a-school scheme that we see from this government,” he said.


Related Articles

No related articles