Minister should allow rejected hub school proposals to apply for new pilot

April 11, 2017

For immediate release.

HALIFAX – The NDP is calling on Minister of Education Karen Casey to stop playing politics with our schools and treat all community hub school proposals with the fairness they deserve by allowing them to apply for the new pilot she has proposed for Louisbourg.

“Schools are essential to the health and prosperity of Nova Scotia and they should be at the centre of our communities. Yet over and over we have watched community proposals for hub schools get rejected because Minister Casey has snubbed the idea of providing communities the start-up funding needed to get the hub school model moving in Nova Scotia,” said NDP Education Critic Lenore Zann. “Now that her tune has changed, the communities of River John, Maitland, Wentworth, and Sandy Cove, deserve to know if the Minister will re-consider their proposals too.”

As recently as October, Casey had insisted that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has no standing in decisions about hub schools. In response to a question posed by the NDP in the House, Casey was very clear: “…the final decision about hub schools and whether the proposal is accepted or not is one from the school board.”

But in a letter to the Cape Breton-Victoria School Board, Casey said that her department would provide funding for a pilot project for a hub school that would be a partnership between the school board, the local community, and several community partners including Cape Breton University, the federal government, and the municipality.

In addition to the Louisbourg hub school proposal, there have been four other hub school proposals in the province in the communities of River John, Maitland, Wentworth, and Sandy Cove. All five proposals were rejected by their school boards because they did not meet the financial criteria. Except for the Digby Neck Consolidated School in Sandy Cove, which was voted to remain open (but not as a hub), all other schools who submitted hub proposals were voted to close.

“This Liberal government has marked itself as a government of zeros: zero hub schools, zero collaborative emergency centres, zero nursing home beds. Now, just weeks away from a likely election call, it’s clear the Liberals are scrambling to show they are something more than zero,” said NDP Leader Gary Burrill. “Our communities deserve better than to be forgotten until an election is at hand.”

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For more information please contact Kaley Kennedy at (902) 229-6881 or kaley.kennedy@novascotia.ca.