Edmonton Catholic needs construction money to keep pace with growth

Catholic students need two new schools built and two old schools modernized each year to keep pace with enrolment, Edmonton’s Catholic school board chairman says.

“We’re hopeful that those needs will fall on understanding ears,” board chairman Terry Harris said Tuesday.

His comments came the same day a former Alberta education minister called on the province to put a moratorium on all new Catholic school construction.

New attendance and demographic data prompted the Edmonton Catholic board to re-order its school construction request list Tuesday, pushing a new Catholic K-9 school in Keswick and a new K-6 school in Lewis Farms up the list.

Parents in southeast Edmonton may be disappointed a K-6 school planned for the Meadows has been nudged to priority No. 6 from its previous top spot.

During the past year, the number of students attending Catholic schools who live in Keswick and Lewis Farms has jumped, said Boris Radyo, assistant superintendent of educational planning.

St. John XXIII, the closest Catholic school to Keswick, is at 98 per cent capacity, and expected to hit 113 per cent by 2022, even if the district adds eight portable classrooms, Radyo said.

Likewise, Bishop David Motiuk, the closest Catholic school to Lewis Farms, is projected to hit 121 per cent capacity by 2022.

Former education minister David King, who runs a campaign to amalgamate the public and Catholic school systems, said Tuesday the province should stop funding Catholic school construction.

“It is time for a thoughtful conversation, involving every interested Albertan, about why we duplicate administration and services, and operate under-utilized schools, to preserve a denominational privilege that is out of keeping with current human rights practices and may no longer be relevant,” King wrote.

The government won’t consider such a moratorium, said Education Minister David Eggen’s press secretary, Linsday Harvey.

“Minister Eggen and Premier Notley …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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