Closing schools also expensive, says MLA

1 / 3
Changes coming to increase support for students

The P.E.I. Legislature's standing committee on Infrastructure and Energy is sending a letter to cabinet and the Public Schools Branch about the possibility of schools closures.

The Public Schools Branch is currently discussing a report that recommends permanently closing five schools.

Committee member Sidney MacEwen, Progressive Conservative MLA for Morell-Mermaid, was vocal in his concerns for the future of the school buildings if they do close, saying it is important everyone understand the costs involved.

"Cabinet's going to make the final decision on school closures, so we wanted to make sure as a committee that if they decide to close a school that they're taking in the operational costs of keeping a school closed, and also perhaps the decommission costs of decommissioning that school because it's probably not far off what it costs to operate the school now," said MacEwen.

"We want as a committee to put a motion forward and to send that to them so that they're aware of that as well."

The motion was passed.

No backroom discussions, says minister

Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Minister Paula Biggar also appeared before the committee.

Committee members asked her questions about maintenance costs, plans for the buildings and the process, including what would happen to the buildings if any of the five schools up for closure does shut down.

Biggar said that is not something the department has discussed with the Public schools Branch.

"There's been no backroom discussions, I'm going to say, between the Department of Transportation and Public Schools Branch on 'Oh well, this school's going to close and we want to make sure that you have the paperwork ready for that,'" said Biggar.

"There has been absolutely no discussion on any schools being made surplus."

She said if schools were recommended to be closed, there would be a process in place before it would go to the Department of Transportation to dispose of surplus buildings.

- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Veseys Seeds responds to concerns over wildflower seeds

- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Small business group concerned with proposed changes to parental leave

Correction : This story previously stated Sidney MacEwen is a Liberal. He is, in fact, a Progressive Conservative.(Mar 21, 2017 7:39 AM)