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Saskatchewan government disagrees with privacy commissioner on releasing school costs

The Saskatchewan NDP will be calling out the provincial government for withholding information about how much it would cost to get each division’s schools in order.
The Saskatchewan NDP will be calling out the provincial government for withholding information about how much it would cost to get each division’s schools in order. File Photo / Global News

According to the Saskatchewan NDP, the provincial government is hiding the cost to fix schools.

The official Opposition said it requested the cost of needed repairs and the average facility condition index (FCI) for each school division from the Ministry of Education in October 2019.

Read more: Briercrest College student in Saskatchewan tests positive for coronavirus

NDP said there a $1.3 billion infrastructure deficit to fix Saskatchewan’s schools.

“With the added costs to school divisions of accommodating COVID-19 requirements the Sask Party must be transparent in the real costs our province is facing,” NDP education critic Carla Beck said in a press release.

“Enough of this shell game. School divisions, parents and teachers deserve to know what we’re up against. Kids deserve schools that aren’t falling apart.”

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The provincial government released the FCI but withheld the ministry’s numbers for how much it would cost to get each division’s schools in order, according to the NDP.

Read more: Sask. announces $51 million in 1st round of COVID-19 school division funding

A recent from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Saskatchewan was released on Sept. 4 saying the government had no valid reason for withholding the information from the public and made the recommendation that it be released.

The Saskatchewan government responded to the report on Wednesday afternoon.

“We respectfully disagree with the recommendation to release records pertaining to school division maintenance and funding due to potential economic and budget implications for both the province and divisions,” read a statement from the government.

The government added it has taken a proactive approach to invest in school infrastructure projects across the province to maintain education infrastructure.

“Since 2007, the government of Saskatchewan has committed approximately $1.9 billion toward school infrastructure projects,” read the statement from the government.

“This includes 57 new or replacement schools as well as 28 major renovations. Overall, education capital investments will total $167.7 million for the 2020-21 fiscal year.”

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