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Wildrose critic unsure why public schools involved in land deal

Potential development land at 38 St. and 38 Ave. NW. Global News
The Wildrose is weighing in on a public land deal for a private school in Edmonton.The principal of Headway School, who wants to buy a surplus school site in Mill Woods so students will be closer to home, has called the decision absurd.

READ MORE: Principal wants private land deal with city for school

Wildrose critic Leela Aheer said that this needs to be a municipal decision.

“This is an awesome use of space, I would think,” Aheer said. “I would assume that, if a school doesn’t go in there, that they will sit empty. So just from a pure usage of space, what a wonderful opportunity (this would be) to get these schools back to use. I am certainly encouraging these folks to work together. This is really about local autonomy and local decision making.”

The proposed land space would be at 38 Street and 38 Avenue NW.

Aheer added that she doesn’t understand why public schools are involved in the debate.

“To go after another school authority, when in my opinion, it really has nothing to do with them,” Aheer explained. “If this is really about this independent school authority wanting to secure this land through the City of Edmonton, to be able to have an option for school for these children that have a need.”

The Headway School teaches Punjabi as a second language and some students have to bus for an hour to get their education.

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Headway School principal J.S. Sidhu suspects that the pushback is from public sector unions.

READ MORE: Battle brewing over Edmonton land designated for schools

In a written statement, Education Minister David Eggen said: “I’m glad to see the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Public School Board work together on this issue. I understand they will continue to do so, and ultimately this a decision that is up to Edmonton City Council, and I trust they will make the best decision for Edmontonians.”On Tuesday, city manager Linda Cochrane said the process isn’t going to be simple or quick, and the city will be looking to other jurisdictions to see how they have handled issues like this.

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