In a lead up to the Alberta provincial election, Cochrane Now has asked candidates in the Airdrie-Cochrane constituency, a series of five questions about topics impacting our ridings. They'll appear weekdays with the last one being posted on Monday, Apr. 15, the day prior to the election.
It's Question Three in the series and today's topic centres upon the need for more school infrastructure in our fast-growing region.
The order in which the candidates' answer rotate each day.
A link is provided with each response taking you back to the party’s website for more information on their platforms and policies.
Thursday, Apr. 11 - Question Three
Rocky View Schools have seen tremendous growth in the student population, but the infrastructure has not kept up with that pace. What is your party's plan to address the issue?
Peter Guthrie - United Conservative Party
A strong education system is fundamental to the UCP the because it is the backbone of a strong economy.
The first thing a government will do is order an immediate audit of class sizes to determine what happened to previous funding dedicated to class size reduction. It is astonishing how the NDP put money forward to fix a problem and then it was never fixed. An audit will not only identify why this happened but give recommendations on how to fix it. This will give a UCP government a good plan forward to deal with the school infrastructure issue.
We will continue to build new schools to keep up with the expected growth as our economy turns around. But when we build those new schools we will do so in a way that prepares for the future, not student amounts from the past. We will make these decisions judiciously to ensure the backbone of our economy is supported.
Danielle Cameron - Alberta Independence Party
We project a $15 billion surplus per year on a balanced budget with no cuts to services or social programs.
With a $15 billion/year surplus, the people and stakeholders will decide which services and/or programs can be better. Schools will get additional funding to reduce classroom sizes, hire teachers and resource workers.
We will ensure student funding goes with the student when students transfer schools.
We will ensure 100 per cent funding for all schools public/private who meet the common sense “Oath of Rights and Freedoms.”
Vern Raincock - Alberta Party
The Alberta party will ensure that a sustainable funding formula will be set for school boards by the end of 2019 so local needs can be prioritized and met in a timely manner.
The Alberta party announced the provision of additional teachers assistants as well as our Children First Plan.
Our classrooms are increasingly diverse with children from many different cultures, backgrounds and circumstances. Alberta families want to be confident their children will receive a quality education no matter how complex the classroom. While continuing efforts to reduce class sizes, we will expand funding to double the number of educational assistants to provide more support to students, more help for teachers, and ultimately make it easier for kids to learn.
Our Children First plan includes a major expansion of direct financial support to lower and middle-income families to cover the costs of licensed daycare and out-of-school care programs, a caregiver tax credit, and the creation of more affordable, high-quality child care spaces throughout the province.
Far more lower and middle-income families will receive financial support to cover the costs of licensed child care through a new voucher program. The voucher can be used at any licensed child care and will provide a subsidy of up to 100% of the costs of a child care cost (up to established regional maximums).
There are over 260,000 Albertan children and more than 100,000 Albertan families to whom our program would apply.
Steve Durrell - Alberta NDP
Over the last 4 years, Rachel has built or modernized over 200 schools with another 20 committed to this year. That includes five new schools in Airdrie and two in Cochrane.
We will continue to build schools and hire teachers and staff for them to keep pace with growth. It makes no sense to build the schools if you don't fund enrollment for the new kids, which is why we are committed to funding enrollment.
Matthew Morrisey - Freedom Conservative Party
The FCP is committed to providing equal funding to all certified public, private, separate, and home-schooled students. Once this happens it will allow parents more choice in their school. By equally funding private school students, it opens up spaces in those schools that were only accessible by the more wealthy Albertans, as well giving stay at home parents the ability to offer home school students equal educational opportunities as their public school counterparts.
Advance Polls Open Until Saturday
Advance Polls remain open Saturday and operate from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can vote at any advance polling station but on election day you must vote at your assigned location.
Here in Cochrane, you can vote in advance at the office of the returning officer, 215 100 Grande Boulevard.
Elsewhere in the area, you can vote at the Bearspaw Lions Club Hall, 25240 Nagway, adjacent to Hwy. 1A in Bearspaw.
Those 18 and older who reside in Alberta and are a Canadian citizen can vote. If you are not already on the voters' list you can register at the polling station. You must bring acceptable identification. Details can be found at www.elections.ab.ca.
Candidate Question of the Day - Day Two