Some towns on the northeast Avalon could be getting new schools.
Tuesday’s provincial budget included money for “planning for potential new schools” in Conception Bay South, Paradise, Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s and the area from Torbay to Bauline.
C.B.S. Mayor Woodrow French was pleased with the news, and a $5.6-million commitment to extend Holy Spirit High School.
“I’m happy to hear that they’re looking at the schooling situation in Conception Bay South and addressing that. We think there’s new facilities needed in that particular area,” he said.
Education Minister Clyde Jackman said in a news release that the recent population growth just outside St. John’s has created “serious challenges” in accommodating the increasing number of students.
He said site selection and design work need to begin as soon as possible.
The planning for new schools doesn’t stop on the Avalon Peninsula. The province will also investigate the feasibility of a new school for Gander and will fund planning for the reorganization of Corner Brook schools.
The money for school planning was part of the $866.9 million allocated for early childhood learning and the K-12 system.
That’s around $18 million more than budgeted for these areas last year, and the money includes more than $100 million for school construction and repair.
Besides the Holy Spirit extension, the funding for ongoing school projects in the capital city region includes:
• $12.4 million to begin construction of St. Teresa’s school
• $12 million to start building a west end high school in St. John’s
• $9.6 million for the redevelopment of Roncalli Elementary
• $1 million to continue planning on a replacement for Virginia Park Elementary
As well, the budget contained cash for the continued construction or redevelopment of schools in St. Anthony, Carbonear, Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor.
Budget 2012 also continued funding for free textbooks, the elimination of school fees and Learning from the Start — the province’s early childhood learning strategy.
More than 62 per cent of the
K-12 budget is being spent on teacher salaries and services, substitutes and student assistants.