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Baillie renews call for new elementary school for Springhill


SPRINGHILL, N.S. – Jamie Baillie is not giving up on his goal of a new elementary school for Springhill.

The PC leader and Cumberland South MLA has tabled a petition, signed by 261 Springhill residents, calling on the government to build a new school in the former town.
“A new school year has started and we still don’t have a new elementary school for Springhill or a commitment for a new school,” Baillie said Tuesday.
Baillie said local staff are to be commended for keeping the two existing schools functioning, but he said both West End-Memorial and Junction Road Elementary School have frequent leaks, have cramped gymnasiums and obsolete plumbing and amenities.
“We need to replace these two older schools with one newer school,” he said. “It’s frustrating that government is putting politics before children’s education.”
Baillie said he’s frustrated that the province build a new $28-million school in Premier Stephen McNeil’s Annapolis Valley riding, is building a new school in Finance Minister Karen Casey’s riding as well as schools in Liberal ridings in Eastern Passages and Spryfield.
Meanwhile, he said, Springhill still doesn’t have a timeline of when it will have a new school.
“The premier just opened a new school in his riding while Springhillers have to go without,” he said. “It’s not Springhill, but the school board has made a new school a priority, but it’s up to the provincial government to accept the school board’s priority but they have refused to do that.”
Last November, the province’s auditor general said the province ignored objective rankings of new school and had cabinet intervene to fund schools in Tatamagouche and Bridgetown.
Heather Fairbairn from the Department of Education and Earlyl Childhood Development said government is committed to investing in safe and modern schools to support student learning.
“The department reviews all requests identified by the regional school boards as priorities,” she said in an email. “Final decisions on which projects move forward will be determined by government as part of the capital planning process.”
darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca
Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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