Elbow Park parents frustrated about lack of portables
Portable classrooms at nearby school not ready as promised
Calgary's flood-damaged Elbow Park School remains closed and students will be bused to another neighbourhood because portable classrooms at a nearby school that were promised by the province are not ready.
- Calgary public schools affected by devastating floodwaters
- Flood-damaged Elbow Park school could take 2 years to fix
The school was damaged by flooding from the Elbow River in June and is not ready for students.
Calvin Davies, area director for Rideau Park and Elbow Park schools, says the school has severe structural damage.
- Listen to his full interview on the Calgary Eyeopener below:
Portable classrooms were supposed to be installed at the nearby Earl Grey School, which would have allowed the children to remain in the area.
Instead, the elementary students will travel by bus to Eugene Coste School in the southwest community of Haysboro to begin the school year.
Meanwhile, the Elbow Park School parent council has gone online and found 80 portable classrooms near Crossfield and has brought them to the government's attention.
"I think it's embarrassing for the government. I think it fits into the absolute mismanagement of this process that we've seen today," said Nathan MacBey, the chair of the Elbow Park School parent council.
Leanne Niblock of Alberta Education says the department knew about the Crossfield modular units and had determined they would not meet the needs at the Earl Grey site. However, she says the department is reassessing their suitability.
"We will continue to assess the inventory and if something exists that could move the process along we are open to that," said Niblock. "However, we also can't take modulars out of the queue that are destined for other school jurisdictions."
But school trustee Sheila Taylor says it would have cost less to send students to Eugene Coste in the first place.
"The school is sitting vacant, and so it really was minimal work for us to open that school back up," she said. "Installing brand new modular units at Earl Grey School is a solution that's certainly in the millions of dollars."
But the province says Elbow Park parents wanted to keep the students together and in the neighbourhood close to home, so this is the plan they created with the Calgary Board of Education.
The news is much better for students at nearby Rideau Park School, which will reopen on Tuesday for the start of the school year even though it saw higher floodwaters than Elbow Park.