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Carr continues defence of school cancellation

Education Minister Jody Carr is continuing to defend the sudden cancellation of a new Kennebecasis Park School in Rothesay that he approved five months ago.

Education Minister Jody Carr is continuing to defend the sudden cancellation of a new Kennebecasis Park School in Rothesay that he approved five months ago.

Local parents have been demanding answers since Carr announced last Friday the K-Park school project was off  and on Tuesday, the education minister was grilled in question period by the Liberals on the subject.

"I fail to understand what has changed since December 2010. When this government tabled its capital budget, it confirmed that the project was going ahead," Opposition Leader Victor Boudreau said on Tuesday.

"Now, all of a sudden, a few months later, the project is being shelved indefinitely, and it may be cancelled altogether."

Janice MacPherson, a local parent, was asking similar questions after meeting with the education minister last week. She said the project was stopped for no apparent reason.

"There's nothing that's happened in our population base within the last six weeks that has so dramatically changed, that no one has foreseen coming in the last two years," she said.

Last December, Carr announced $7.7 million during his capital budget to design and begin building a new kindergarten to Grade 5 school in Rothesay.

The new school's designs had already been done, the construction signs were up on the site and some trees were already cleared for the project to start.

School must have 'right scope'

The education minister said on Tuesday the department may now look at building a single, larger school serving a wider area.

Carr said he wants to make sure the school is the "right scope, the right fit, to meet the needs of Quispamsis and Rothesay."

"I do not enjoy making decisions, no one enjoys making decisions that anger people. That's not the intent," he said.

"But I also don't enjoy future generations being saddled with uncontrollable, enormous debt."

The education minister also said the school's declining student enrolment was a factor in the decision to stop the project.

"To build a 300-student school for 191 students, which is a declining population, raises lots of questions, and I could not justify going forward at this point," he said in question period.

But parents who were pushing for the new school say this year's student population is down just two students from what was forecast.