October 19, 2018 (Calgary) – The Alberta Party Caucus is asking questions around the funding of school playgrounds after a surprise funding announcement by the NDP Minister of Education.
St. Peter school in Penbrooke Meadows, Calgary, received a pledge for $200,000 in funding from Education Minister David Eggen, seemingly outside of the regular approvals process for playground funding. That has Alberta Party MLAs concerned about the integrity of the process.
“Nobody is begrudging St. Peter School the chance to build a playground,” said MLA Karen McPherson, “but there are four schools in my riding alone, and many more all over the city, that are in need of new playground facilities.”
“As MLA’s we work with these schools to guide them through a process and to trust that the process is fair and equitable. For a minister of the crown to come into a government-held riding and hand out a cheque purely at his own discretion, that sends a very worrying message to schools seeking funding through the normal process.”
MLA Rick Fraser also worries the actions of the Minister of Education will pit communities against one another in the search for funding.
“I have schools in my riding fighting for every dollar through fundraising to try and get their students the necessary equipment.”
“For these schools and parent groups to be working that hard and then see surprise funding show up in another community, I think that makes people think “Why them, why not us?”
“So I think the Minister needs to be clear on where this extra $200,000 is coming from, and when these other schools can expect the same level of help.”
The Alberta Party Caucus is calling for more transparency around the allocation of playground funding and more equity for schools struggling to raise funds.
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