The Pallister government has identified Winkler and Niverville as the top priority areas for new schools to be built in Manitoba.
During the budget estimates process, Education Minister Ian Wishart offered a glimpse into the province’s plan to tackle a school deficit Wishart said was caused by the former NDP government.
“Over the last 10 years we have under-invested in a major way,” Wishart said.
He noted there are currently 460 portables being used as classrooms across the province, the “most we have ever had.”
So far, the government has identified the Garden Valley School Division, which serves the Winkler area, and Hanover School Division, which serves the area southeast of Winnipeg, as topping the growing list to get new schools.
Wishart said the two rural school divisions are top priority because they have the most urgent needs.
He noted, for example, the Garden Valley School Division is currently using 49 portables.
The school in Winkler will be K-8, while the Niverville school construction will involve merging two schools and building a new one.
No timeline for new schools: Wishart
Wishart isn’t ready to say when those schools will get the green light to be built. The exact locations will be determined by the school divisions, he said.
As for a new school in the south side of Brandon that was promised under the NDP, Wishart said it will have to wait.
“We do know there is significant growth in Brandon and the NDP made lots of promises out there, but they never set money aside to do anything,” he said.
The government is working on a 10-year long-term plan it can give to school divisions to let them know where they “stack up” and when they could be getting a new school, Wishart said.
Wab Kinew, the NDP’s education critic and current leadership candidate, applauded the government for finally moving on building new schools, but expressed disappointment there is no school for Brandon or northwest Winnipeg. He argued the government…