Letter: PC claim of incomplete paperwork unfounded

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Dear editor,

I was deeply distressed by recent claims made by the Education Ministers’ representatives in the local media coverage of the Morinville public education crisis. Jim Prentice and Gordon Dirks would have the general population believe that the lacking announcement of a new Public Jr. / High school is due to incomplete paperwork, submitted by the Sturgeon School Division. This, however, has been proved unfounded through talks with our Morinville mayor, Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta, Board of Trustees and Sturgeon School Division Superintendent. Fact seekers have uncovered yet another lie uttered by the PC government to pull the wool over constituents’ eyes and shirk responsibility for poor decision making.

In a strategic move to garner favour and votes before by elections, the PC party proudly announced the construction plans for 55 schools in Alberta. While these schools are desperately needed across our growing province, undue care and attention were paid to where the need is becoming most dire. Old promises were quickly forgotten in their haste to push this announcement through and appease the voting public.

A PC promise to Morinville was made in 2012; ‘Accessible, Inclusive Public Education from K-12, in Morinville, is our top priority’. Half of that promise has been upheld. Time has run out for our older children now, for they will never see a Jr. High or High School built in time to finish their education in Morinville. How long do our young children have to wait? Time is ticking, the public school numbers are growing rapidly and as they age, more and more children will be bussed out of town to Sturgeon County schools that already have their own overpopulation issues. In three short years, hundreds of students will be added to the already large amount of students being bussed elsewhere to uphold their protected right to ‘accessible and unbiased public education’.

Though it has been assured to the general public that Mr. Dirks is working out the details with Sturgeon School Division and vested parties, we have yet to hear a clear answer as to why this situation was not addressed. Instead what we are getting is a 2-day ‘Values Scoping assessment’. I would like to know honestly, how many of the 230 previously announced schools were made to participate in this assessment. My guess would be zero. Our dire need was clearly stated and evidenced in the original application process. What we have been presented with, is another PC stall tactic to push this issue past elections. Why is it so hard for our government to admit, that a mistake was made?

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Mr. Prentice and Mr. Dirks, are using the excuse of less than perfect paperwork as justification for denying our Morinville school children full, public education. What kind of government thinks like that? Certainly not the Alberta government I would or will be voting for.

Sincerely,

Sarah Hall
Morinville Public School Council Chair
and concerned Morinville mother

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