NDP hopes government’s second look at P3 schools will lead to better plan

After months of dismissing concerns, the government has apparently quietly informed school divisions it is taking a second look at its P3-schools plan due to growing concern that it is not the most cost-effective or prudent approach to building and operating schools.

"This government has been stubbornly plowing ahead with its P3-school agenda, and it has even criticized the Opposition for raising very legitimate concerns about this plan," said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP Deputy Leader and Education Critic. "So we're pleased to see that this government appears to finally be taking a second look at its misguided scheme for P3 schools."

Wotherspoon noted that school divisions have expressed concerns and pushed for more information about the costs, local-supply, governance and design aspects of the new schools. School divisions have also passed motions calling on a commitment by the government to accommodate community needs in the use of schools for extra-curricular activities.
"We know there are many growing communities that urgently need new schools. We want this government to address those needs in the most cost-effective and sensible way," Wotherspoon said. "There have been so many problems in other jurisdictions that have tried the P3-school approach. There are obviously a number of questions being raised by school boards and we hope this government will come forward with a better plan and some answers to their questions."
In December, the government voted against the NDP's proposed legisation, The Public-Private Partnership Transparency and Accountability Act, which would have required the full costs, including the financing, of P3 schools to be reported to the taxpayers and would prevent the government from using the P3 method for major capital projects if there are less than three bidders on the contract. 

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For more information, contact:
Doyle Fox, NDP caucus