Edmonton’s public college board calls on province to step up funding for brand new colleges

As a brand new college yr begins, Edmonton’s public college board is renewing requires the province to step up funding to get shovels into the bottom and construct colleges.

The board mentioned learn how to deal with rising scholar enrolment throughout the first board assembly for the 2022-23 college yr. 

“It is blowing our projections out of the water, to place it merely,” board chair Trisha Estabrooks mentioned in an interview with CBC’s Edmonton AM on Thursday. 

The board had initially projected 107,000 college students within the district however had near 110,000 college students enrolled as soon as the college yr started. It had 105,000 college students within the earlier college yr.

“That sort of development, even in a metropolis like ours that is rising so shortly … remains to be actually unprecedented,” Estabrooks mentioned. 

She mentioned it contributes to what she calls an already current “vital house crunch.”

LISTEN | Edmonton Public College Board chair talks to CBC’s Edmonton AM concerning the battle to construct colleges to satisfy rising enrolment:

6:24Edmonton colleges are in a capability crunch

One other inflow of recent college students has the Edmonton Public College Board is asking on the province to fund the constructing of extra colleges. After this merchandise got here up for dialogue on the board’s first assembly of the college yr, board chair Trisha Estabrooks joined Edmonton AM to elucidate the capability points and the assist EPSB needs from the province.

Throughout its assembly on Tuesday, the board reviewed and amended suggestions to its three-year capital plan for 2023-26.

Delivered to the forefront was the dearth of faculties in neighbourhoods like Edgemont, Glenridding Heights and Rosenthal.

The board bumped up Edgemont as a precedence after a parcel of land turned out there for growth. The proprietor determined to promote.

Development would contain the constructing of a kindergarten to Grade 9 college within the neighbourhood. 

Provincial assist 

Discussions have been ongoing between the college board and Schooling Minister Adriana LaGrange. 

Estabrooks mentioned the division has been shut out of recent college bulletins for the final two years.

“We’re actually taking part in catch up and that is the message we shared with Minister of Schooling LaGrange earlier this week,” she mentioned. 

“We’re in a vital state of affairs … we wanted these new colleges constructed yesterday.”

Katherine Stavropoulos, press secretary for LaGrange, mentioned in an emailed assertion Wednesday the division has obtained EPSB’s precedence listing for the 2023-26 capital plan.

“It’s being assessed alongside different college authority precedence lists,” Stavropoulos mentioned. “This work will inform Price range 2023 Capital Plan suggestions.”

The assertion additionally notes that wants are prioritized primarily based on analysis standards, together with well being and security, enrolment pressures, constructing circumstances, performance, programming and authorized necessities. 

The province’s 2022 capital plan contains an funding of $2 billion over three years for the development of recent colleges, modernizations and design work to assist college priorities.

A mother and her two young kids stand on an empty field beside their suburban neighbourhood.
Ezra and Aileen Sarfo-Mensah stand with their mom, Millicent Asiedu, in an empty discipline beside their Edgemont neighbourhood. They hope a faculty is constructed right here as quickly as attainable. (Madeleine Cummings/CBC)

With a brand new college opening probably nonetheless years away, the wait is hard for some dad and mom like Millicent Asiedu.

It takes her six-year-old son, Ezra, half an hour to experience the college bus to high school. 

“It looks like with Edgemont, issues are much more slower than we had imagined,” Asiedu mentioned. “It is simply actually unhappy and it simply tells us that our children do not matter at the moment.”

She mentioned different newer neighbourhoods developed across the identical time have entry to extra leisure and academic facilities.

Chart showing school bus commute times and drop-offs for students in the Edgemont, Rosenthal and Glenridding neighbourhoods.
This chart by the Edmonton Public College Board exhibits that as a consequence of capability limitations, college students are being bused to a few completely different elementary colleges, three junior excessive colleges and two senior excessive colleges. (Edmonton Public Colleges)

The state of affairs is taking an emotional toll on her son, Asiedu mentioned.

“It is fairly isolating for him as a result of he has to make pals with children who aren’t in his neighbourhood,” she mentioned.

“However had he [gone to school] in this neighbourhood that might actually assist him construct that group and type friendships with those who he’ll see usually.”

Hafidah Rosyid

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