The Conservative government announced today that it plans to build 14 new schools in Edmonton and Calgary as a Public Private Partnership deal.
This announcement comes just two weeks after the release of a major research document outlining that these P3 arrangements are actually more expensive than following a public model. The report, entitled, ‘Doing The Math: Why P3s for Alberta Schools Don’t Add Up’, explains that the decision to privatize the funding of these schools makes no fiscal sense, because by squandering the borrowing rates available to the province of Alberta, the government is wasting assets that could enable the building of even more schools.
When contacted by the media about this report, Minister of Education Ron Liepert stated publicly that he didn’t plan to read it. Today he made the statement, “Our government has a responsibility to make sure that any partnership agreements are entered into after careful consideration, and with the best interests of students and taxpayers in mind.”
“We hope Minister Liepert is being genuine when he acknowledges his government’s responsibility to ensure these deals are best for students and taxpayers,” said CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz. “If this is the case, we’ll be only too happy to send him another copy of our report.”
The report, which was written by noted researcher Hugh MacKenzie, is in the process of being sent to every school board trustee in the province.
“CUPE represents nearly 8,000 education sector workers in this province,” continued Lanovaz. “Moreover, we live and work in the communities affected by the crisis in infrastructure funding. We are well aware of the urgent need for new education facilities. Urgency, however, is not a reason to move ahead with a deal that has already held up the building of new schools by over a year.”