DARTMOUTH, NS – Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage Progressive Conservative MLA Barbara Adams says Liberal Education Minister Zack Churchill owes parents, students and teachers some answers about what’s next for the Cole Harbour/Auburn Drive family of schools.
Last week, Churchill announced he was pausing all school reviews not involving facility replacements. This directive included halting the review of the 17 schools in the Cole Harbour/Auburn Drive area. This review was set to come before the Halifax Regional School Board this week.
Adams says parents, teachers and students are left wondering what happens next.
“The review has been an emotional and frustrating process for all those involved,” says Adams. “The Liberals have announced the pause, but they haven’t explained what will happen to all the public feedback and recommendations around the 17 schools in our communities. Everyone’s just left wondering what happens now?”
Adams says the Minister must come clean with his intentions for these schools, particularly that of the highly political, highly controversial Eastern Passage High School.
In late 2016, Auditor General Michael Pickup begged the province to scrap the plan to build a $21-million high school in Eastern Passage, citing there was “no evidence to support the need for additional high school capacity in the Cole Harbour and surrounding areas.”
Adams was hoping the school review would shed some light on the impact of the new school, but with the report now shelved, she says those most impacted are left with more questions than answers.
PC Education critic Tim Halman says this is a chance for the Liberals to set a new tone in education.
“This isn’t just about the months and months of work that went into that review, this is about a government that promised they would do a better job of communicating with families, teachers and students,” says Halman. “If the Liberals were actually committed to repairing relationships in education, they would start by coming clean with the plan for these schools.”
This isn’t the first time a government has hit pause on school reviews.
In April of 2013, the NDP government stopped all school reviews. At the time Stephen McNeil said the move was political and “an insincere attempt to clean up the mess this government created through its deep cuts to public education.”
Halman says this recent Liberal decision should also be called into question.
“Hitting pause on this review doesn’t fix the chaos the Liberals caused in our classrooms or the impact of them playing politics in education,” says Halman. “Once again the Liberals have left parents, students and teachers in the dark about the future of their schools. Nova Scotians deserve answers.”