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Edmonton The building of a school by Sobeys (IGA) for the Catholic School Board is about making more profits, not about meeting student needs, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

On the surface, closing lower enrolment schools may look sensible, says Terry Mutton, President of CUPE Alberta. But a closer look shows that all were doing is changing which communitys kids get bused. The governments policy of refusing funding is pitting one urban community against another. Schools are a resource in every urban community and its time the government gave the duly elected Trustees the cash they need to build new schools.

In Nova Scotia, the government has stopped private developers from building schools because it has proven to be too costly. The 33 schools built by private developers in Nova Scotia cost taxpayers an additional $32 million beyond original estimates.

IGAs decision to build the school isnt about helping the community, it is about selling more groceries and making more profits, says Doug Luellman, President of the custodial staff in Edmontons public schools, Local 474. Letting corporations decide where to build means that access becomes dependent on a neighborhoods financial contribution to the corporation rather than on students’ and the communities needs.”

Ten good reasons to oppose privately built schools:

  • Education is for the public good. It should be delivered in public buildings.

  • Schools are one of our most important public assets and should be owned by the community, for use by the community.

  • Lease-back schools generally cost taxpayers more than publicly-owned and operated ones.

  • Corporate contracts make it impossible to reverse the decision to privatise the ownership and operation of public schools.

  • Schools will be built to meet the needs of companies not those of students and communities.

  • Elected community members will have no control over school construction and upkeep.

  • Public-private partnerships in school infrastructure encourage governments to enter into risky long-term arrangements for short-term gain.

  • Privately owned and operated public schools accelerate the corporate takeover of education.

  • Privately owned and operated public schools mean fewer good jobs in communities.

  • Privately owned and operated public schools threaten wages and working conditions of school board employees.

For more information, please call Ron Levesque at 436-7531
or Doug Luellman at 447-5858.

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