P3 schools scrapped

The Hamm government dismantled the controversial P3 school construction program Wedensday, calling it failure for the money. The Education Minister says 17 new schools will be built in the traditional way.

That means using taxpayers money and more borrowing by the province.

The Education minister says the cost of school construction under the P3 process spiralled out of control because the Liberals didn't set building standards or require accountability.

"The former government used P3 as a blank cheque to provide costly extras that taxpayers can't afford," says Education Minister Jane Purves.

Under P3, schools were designed, built and owned by private companies and leased back to the province, an arrangement that allowed the MacLellan government to keep hundreds of millions off provincial books.

The 17 new schools will still be built by private companies, but they will be designed, owned and operated by the province and school boards.

The Tories say the new schools will cost about 15% less than the P3 schools, mostly because they will have smaller classrooms.

One of the developers showed up to lament the cancellation of the P3 program.

Many of the landowners and developers who won P3 contracts were Liberals or friends of the the Liberal government.The Tories are promising a fair and open tender process for their 17 schools.