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(Halifax) If Nova Scotians need any more proof that P3 schools were a bad idea, they need look no further than this week’s decision by an arbitrator to allow the private owners to share in monies raised by the schools.

That critical assessment comes today from the Canadian Union of Public Employees, one of the groups that fought the P3 schools scheme when it was being planned by the then Liberal government.

CUPE Nova Scotia President Betty-Jean Sutherland, whose union represents 15,000 workers in Nova Scotia including school board workers says, “This confirms our worst fears about these so-called public-private partnerships. They’re nothing but a cash grab for the private partners.”

Says Sutherland, “We argued at the time that P3 schools would mean a loss of control and accountability for our publicly-funded school system. We couldn’t have imagined that the government would negotiate a contract that let Scotia Learning take a cut of chocolate bar fundraisers. It’s disgraceful.”

CUPE is concerned about the implications of this ruling on other P3 schools in Nova Scotia. There are 39 P3 schools in the province that are owned and operated by the private sector. Scotia Learning built 13 of the schools.

Says Sutherland, “The more we learn about these contracts, the more we are reminded what a bad deal P3’s are for Nova Scotians. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the problems. Just recently, HRM entered into a P3 contract with a French multinational for the Halifax Harbour cleanup.”

For information:

Betty-Jean Sutherland, President, CUPE Nova Scotia, 902-759-6382 (Cell),902-396-5429 (Home)

John McCracken, CUPE Communications Representative, 902-455-4180 (office)