News / Halifax

'Wasted' money: Concerned parent on province's handling of new Eastern Passage high school

Nova Scotia Auditor General slams process, school board chair says they'll make do with what they've got.

The auditor general may have voiced criticism of the province's handling of a new Eastern Passage high school, but one parent said it's hard to feel vindicated when $21 million is being “wasted.”

The province approved the school despite evidence it wasn't needed, said Auditor General Michael Pickup Wednesday, adding the province is doing a "poor job" of schools planning.

David Nantes, a concerned parent, said planning is simply non existent. Rather than leaving Cole Harbour and Auburn Drive high schools with less than 50 per cent capacity when the new school opens in 2018, Nantes said a group of residents have a better idea. Cole Harbour and Auburn could be established as a single school with two campuses serving grades 9-12, he said.

“The school board should accept this idea and develop a working committee with the community and local teachers to work out the details and make it happen,” Nantes said in an email. “There is simply no focus on quality of education in the current decision making process.”

"I don’t think anyone feels vindicated when $21M is wasted," he also wrote.

Board Chair Dave Wright said they are looking towards the future and making do with what they've got.

He said the board is working with residents and talking with the schools which feed both Auburn Drive and Cole Harbour schools to resolve the issue.

“It doesn't necessarily mean one of those high schools would close but it will likely mean one of them would have to be configured in a different way because there is excess capacity,” he said. “Fifty per cent is a low number but we are working with the community because this is the lot we have right now and we will make it work.”

The idea is to have a concrete plan in place before the doors open on the new school in two years.

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