Calgary gets 4 new elementary schools, parent group says 2 communities were skipped over

Click to play video: 'Province names new Calgary school sites' Province names new Calgary school sites
WATCH: Four more Calgary communities could be home to new elementary schools by 2021, and a city high school is getting a big facelift. But as Mia Sosiak reports, two other communities identified as high priority for new schools have been left off the list. – Mar 21, 2017

The province announced Tuesday four new schools will be built in Calgary, while an existing school will receive modernizations.

The projects will be paid for by $500 million in funding announced last week when the NDP government outlined its 2017 budget.

Finance Minister Joe Ceci shared details on the projects at a 10 a.m. news conference at Forest Lawn High School.

WATCH: Education Minister David Eggen joins Global Calgary with details on the four new schools planned for Calgary following the 2017 Alberta budget

Click to play video: '4 new schools planned for Calgary' 4 new schools planned for Calgary
4 new schools planned for Calgary – Mar 24, 2017

The new facilities include four elementary schools to be located in the communities of Cranston, Auburn Bay, Evergreen and Coventry Hills.

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Three of the new schools will be part of the public system, while the Auburn Bay Elementary Core School will be part of the Calgary Catholic School Division.

The modernization will take place at Forest Lawn High School.

Not everyone is happy with the announcement; a local parents group says two communities have been skipped over and the need for new high schools has been overlooked.

The Calgary Board of Education boosted the communities of Mahogany and Skyview Ranch up to No. 3 and 4 on its priority list for new schools this month, but because the province based its decision on last year’s list, they were missed.

Kids Come First founder Lisa Davis is concerned they were skipped over.

“These fastest growing communities have the most need to get built,” she said. “It’s going to be a concern for those communities as to how they’re going to make the space work.

“There was certainly nothing preventing them from recognizing that the school boards themselves are in the best position to determine what schools need to be built urgently.”

Alberta Education says the new rankings, updated two weeks ago, came too late to consider because with 61 school boards, the decision process takes months.

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There are also questions about why only elementary schools will be built.

“We know these kids grow up, they need junior highs and high schools. We know that work has to start now.”

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2017: What’s in it for Calgary and Lethbridge?

“New schools and major modernizations of aging facilities help us continue to offer quality learning opportunities for our students closer to where they live,” Calgary Board of Education chair Joy Bowen-Eyre said.

In addition to the new Calgary facilities, the province announced two new schools in Airdrie and the replacement of a school in Banff, Alta.

In total, the NDP announced 26 school projects on Tuesday, saying they will create more than 6,000 jobs.

“Our government is working to make life better for Albertans and part of that is building schools for our growing number of students,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in a news release. “We will also protect and improve education by providing a much-needed facelift to some of our aging facilities.”

Construction on almost all of the projects is expected to begin in 2018, with the province projecting that most will open in 2021.

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With files from Caley Ramsay and Mia Sosiak

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