Since spring teachers, students, and parents in the Prince Andrew High School community have been bringing to my attention concerns regarding renovations at the high school. Just this week students raised the issue of a lack of heat in some of the classrooms, and teachers have complained to me about safety issues.
After being ignored by the previous Progressive Conservative government, the renovations were finally funded. But things have not gone smoothly. Over the past year there have been electrical issues, water issues, and important equipment removed from the school like pencil sharpeners, bleachers and lockers.
Renovations to the tech ed department which the Education Minister had written would be done over the summer were not completed and students tell me they signed up for programs that teachers now have to struggle to deliver in less than ideal circumstances.
I've also talked with teachers who are considering taking deferred leaves rather than have to wonder whether they'll have a construction site for a classroom with plugs and cables that may or may not work.
Board staff tell me many of the problems exist because of problems getting timely funding from the provincial government. As such, I've raised many of these issues in the legislature during question period both this session and in spring. The NDP government has replied that the renovation is the responsibility of the school board, however, it is the name of the Premier and the Minister of Education on a sign posted to the side of the school, so they must shoulder some responsibility. As well, board staff tell me without access to provincial funds on a timely basis there is little they can do.
I am hopeful there will change, and the situation will improve for teachers, students, and the entire school community. By the time you read this I will have yet again toured the renovations at the school, but this time I'll have been joined by the province's Minister of Education. While some of the issues which have been raised have been addressed, many appear to still exist, and the safety and educational experience of students and teachers must be a priority.
I always welcome your feedback and input. Please contact me at any time at email@example.com or 406-4420.