CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The UCP government has announced 25 school projects, including 15 new schools to be built in Alberta.
The projects include new high schools for north Calgary, Edmonton, Leduc, Blackfalds, and Langdon. The province will also replace six existing schools and modernizations to four others.
Included in the list of modernized schools is Athabasca Delta School in Fort Chipewyan, Alta.
It’s expected the work will cost the province $397 million and LaGrange said they’re investing a total of $1.8 billion in school spaces over the next four years.
15 new schools will be built in total. This includes new high schools for Calgary, Edmonton, Leduc, Blackfalds, and Langdon. Six existing schools will be replaced, and four others will be modernized or see additions to existing infrastructure. #yyc #ableg @660NEWS
— Saif Kaisar (@StaySaif) November 1, 2019
Despite the good news of new schools, there are concerns about who will staff them.
Parental advocacy group Support Our Students Alberta (SOS) is worried about the UCP’s spending freeze on education saying it could cost school boards like the Calgary Board of Education millions of dollars.
In a release, the organization said the funding is only limited to four walls and a roof.
“This funding does nothing to fill those schools with books, desks, technology, staffing, teachers, playgrounds, and resources,” said Barbara Silva with SOS. “It is left to school boards to use their education funding to fill those schools, school boards that have received the same funding as 2018 but for more students.
“The reality of building more schools, while freezing funding has the effect of creating a larger funding gap for school boards.”
It is critical information that while the Ministry of Infrastructure funds new schools, this funding is limited to four walls & a roof. This funding does nothing to fill those schools with books, desks, technology, staffing, teachers & resources. /2#abed #ableg
— Support Our Students (@SOSAlberta) November 1, 2019
The group also believes the loss of funding could mean layoffs for hundreds of teachers.
On Oct. 24, the UCP released its first budget calling for spending cuts in many departments. While the government maintained funding to education at $8.2 billion, it did not fund enrolment growth across the province.
WATCH: United Conservatives release 2019 budget
The Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) said the student population is expected to grow by 15,000, and school boards aren’t receiving more money to support them.