Budget holds no relief for overcrowded schools
Alberta's recent provincial budget was a big disappointment to parents and educators throughout the province who were hoping for relief at overcrowded schools.
Parents in Airdrie, north of Calgary, have argued their schools are bursting at the seams.
"We're using cafeteria space, libraries are being cut down, music rooms are now being gone, out in the hallways storage closets are being used," said Steve Goodall of the Airdrie Council of School Councils.
"A lot of our schools, they can't take additional portables because there's no additional space on the site."
Goodall said Premier Ed Stelmach had pledged eight new schools would be built in the province. But he worried the promise might not hold up because Stelmach is stepping down and a leadership race could derail the plans.
He was disappointed the new budget did not include new educational facilities for Airdrie.
"I just don't want them to think that they can announce that, 'Yes, just be quiet, please be patient, we will come up with something,' and then that time frame comes and goes and then it's too late for us to react or to lobby or to do anything and we're waiting for another year," he said.
No relief for Beaumont overcrowding
Meanwhile, south of Edmonton, parents and educators grappling with overcrowded schools in Leduc County have the same fears.
Beaumont is desperate for a new school — the existing structures are overcrowded and many students are learning in makeshift classrooms.
Sandy Coral, the chair of the Black Gold Regional School Board, said residents have been lobbying for a new school for years.
"We were really looking forward to it finally being approved, so we are disappointed there are no new capital announcements," she said. "We will continue to lobby with the government and anyone else that we can right now."
The recent budget did not include money for any new schools in the province.