'It's our turn': Calgary parents frustrated with delay in new high school construction

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'It's our turn': Calgary parents frustrated with delay in new high school construction

Some parents in Coventry Hills are frustrated with the Calgary Board of Education and the provincial government for the years-long delay in getting a high school built in their community.

During last week's provincial budget announcement, the NDP promised four new schools for Calgary, including an elementary school in the northeast community. But residents say north central Calgary needs a public high school.

"It's our turn," said David Hartwick, the vice-president of the Northern Hills Community Association. "We want a school here; we need a school here."

A long wait

The Calgary Board of Education acknowledged the need for a high school in 2004, and Hartwick's tired of waiting.

"One hundred thousand people up here without a high school, that's ridiculous," he said. "There's three [high schools] in Airdrie with 61,000."

The nearest school, John Diefenbaker High School, is about a 15 minute drive. But some students, like David Claughton's daughter, are bussed much further — his teenager attends Crescent Heights High School.

"The bus ride from this community to that school is atrocious," he said. "Some days it's 45 minutes to two hours on the bus depending on weather."

New school planned

CBE board chair Joy Bowen-Eyre says a new school is in the plans but they're waiting for provincial money.

"We did open a brand new high school this year and we do have another one on our school capital plan that'll hopefully be funded next year and that's in the northern part of Calgary," she said. 

According to the CBE's 2018-21 capital plan, there are currently 1,728 high school students from the Northern Hills communities, which include Harvest Hills, Country Hills, Country Hills Village, Coventry Hills, Panorama Hills and Hidden Valley.

A new high school for the area is listed as the eighth priority in the capital plan for 2018.

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