When will Smoky Lake get a new school? QP Question October 29th

“…..much still needs to be done and nowhere as much as in the community of Smoky Lake, whose K to 12 school has outlived its usefulness and faces a multitude of serious issues. To the Minister of Education: is he aware of the present state of H.A. Kostach school?” Question Period Oct 29th

On October 29th I was lucky to be assigned the first government side question of the new legislative session. I used the opportunity to ask the Minister of Education if he was aware of the condition of HAK, the parent led letter writing campaign to support a new school, and when Smoky Lake could expect a new school. Transcript follows below.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I’m proud to be part of a government that has built and modernized more schools than any other administration in Alberta’s history. However, much still needs to be done and nowhere as much as in the community of Smoky Lake, whose K to 12 school has outlived its usefulness and faces a multitude of serious issues. To the Minister of Education: is he aware of the present state of H.A. Kostash school?

Speaker: The hon. Minister of Education.

Mr. Eggen: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and thanks for the question. Yes, I am very much aware of the situation in Smoky Lake. In fact, I met a student just last week that goes to this school at the public school board student voice meeting, and he laid out in no uncertain terms exactly how the school was definitely needing some help. You know, there are many schools like this across the province. To date our government has funded 240 school projects across the province, the biggest infrastructure build in the history of this fine province. Again, this example from Smoky Lake . . .

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister.
First supplemental.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you. To the same minister. Local parents have organized a letter-writing campaign to advocate for a replacement school. Can the minister comment on the types of concerns parents have raised with his ministry?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Mr. Eggen: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, I am aware of the state of the school, and I’m really glad for his advocacy to make sure that we’re getting a clear picture of what capital project priorities are across the province. We’ve been building across the province. We’ve been doing renovations across the province, and we will continue to do so. You need to invest in education because our population is growing. You can’t cut and fire; you need to hire and build more schools.
Thank you.

The Speaker: Second supplemental.

Mr. Piquette: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To the same minister: considering the issues with this school, is the minister looking at approving a new school for Smoky Lake, and if so, when?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Mr. Eggen: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Certainly, we work through a process using the priorities of capital builds from different school boards, and in due process of time that’s what we do. We make these decisions together with school boards to make sure that our kids are safe and that we’re building something that we can all be proud of here in the province of Alberta.

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