Education Minister Jody Carr announced almost $20 million to repair or replace two schools that were closed down earlier this fall.

Education Minister Jody Carr promised to set aside almost $20 million to rebuild or replace schools in Campbellton and Moncton in his budget estimates on Wednesday.

Moncton High School and Polyvalente Roland-Pépin had to be closed earlier this fall after health and safety concerns arose.

Carr told the legislature his department has $98.3 million to upgrade and build new schools, which he said was the largest capital budget ever for the department.

The education minister said $10 million has been set aside to start working on a new school to replace Moncton High.

Carr said after his speech that his preferred choice is rebuild Moncton High School with its existing tower and auditorium, a plan that was recommended by an external architectural consultant in November. 

N.B. school upgrade projects

Moncton North: $1.9 million for planning a new K-8 school

École Sainte-Bernadette: $900,000 for design work for a new K-5 school

New Riverview school: $1.8 million for design work for a new K-8 school

New Moncton High School: $10 million to start process to build a new school

Grand Falls schools: $3 million for the rationalization of schools

Polyvalente Roland-Pépin: $8.5 million for renovations

École Régionale Restigouche-Est: $7.4 million for a new K-8 school

École Carrefour-Étudiant: $800,000 for a gym expansion

Kennebecasis Park School: $7.7 million for design work for a K-5 school

Southern Carleton: $1 million for design work for a K-8 school

Woodstock Centennial School: $1.5 million for design work for a K-8 school

Tabusintac: a committee will be formed to develop a community centre

Lower Lincoln Elementary School: $6 million to start construction of a new K-5 school

Alexander Gibson/South Devon Elementary schools: $15.3 million to build a new K-5 school.

But, the education minister said, members of his staff are studying whether that plan is workable.

Students and staff will not be able to return to Moncton High in September 2011.

Meanwhile, Roland-Pépin will receive $8.5 million to upgrade the school with the goal of having students back in the school by January 2012.

The education minister also announced funds for other schools in southeastern New Brunswick. Carr said the Tories will fund $900,000 for a new Sainte-Bernadette school in Moncton and $1.8 million for a new kindergarten-to-Grade 8 school in Riverview.

Other schools that will receive funds in the 2011-12 education budget include: South Devon, Kennebecasis Park, Lower Lincoln, Woodstock and South Carleton.

Carr told the legislative assembly that past government had not spent enough to keep schools up.

"It was clear to me that successive governments have not worked hard enough to fund, maintain and repair our aging school buidlings," Carr said in his budget speech.

The education minister said the record capital budget will help fix up many schools that have fallen into disrepair.

Carr also said he wants a flexible new planning system put in place so similar problems do not arise in the future.

"I'm also convinced that we need to better prioritize, plan and manage school upgrades across our province," he said.