Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NDP school plans will provide test of MLA Rice's ability to steer home Middle School replacement

Any replacement plans for Prince Rupert Middle School will
now cross the desk of NDP Education Minister Rob Fleming

Education it appears will be one of the key elements of forward movement for the new NDP government of John Horgan, as the NDP look to follow up on many of their campaign themes related to education.

The task of delivering on some of the promises made during the campaign will fall to the new education minister Rob Fleming, he was issued his new marching orders in July with his cabinet mandate letter, a document which featured two elements related to physical infrastructure for the province's schools.

Make schools safer by accelerating the seismic upgrade program. 

Work in partnership to build and upgrade schools in every region of the province.

And ever since signing on for the work ahead, Mr. Fleming has been fairly vocal on the need to rebuild the aging infrastructure for the province's public schools.

One file that hopefully crosses his desk sooner, rather than later, will be the need for a replacement building for Prince Rupert Middle School.

That topic was one which she raised frequently as an opposition MLA in the last Legislature sessions, and also made for much of the discussion during the recent election campaign for local candidates, with the NDP's Jennifer Rice making it one of her top talking points.

MLA Rice calls for confidence vote in Legislature; seeks progress on PRMS replacement issue
Radio debates set the scene for Monday's North Coast All Candidates meeting
Middle School replacement hopes become political cudgel for North Coast election campaign
Petition for replacement of PRMS delivered to Legislature by MLA
Jennifer rice renews call for replacement of Prince Rupert Middle School
MLA Rice examines many themes in busy Tuesday session at Legislature

"When can parent's, teachers and children in Prince Rupert expect to see these atrocious health and safety matters addressed, and when can they see a much, much needed middle school" -- Jennifer Rice, in the Legislature in March speaking on the Prince Rupert Middle school replacement quest.

With MLA Jennifer Rice mow on
the government side of the Legislature,
the PRMS replacement plan will be a key
local issue to watch in months to come
Now that Ms. Rice is part of the government, will come the true test as to whether the MLA can deliver on the much anticipated new building.

Having made the local school issue the foundation of much of her campaign for re-election, the next few months will surely offer up some indication as to how much influence the new Parliamentary Secretary for emergency preparedness has with her cabinet colleagues and whether there will be any new announcements, let alone a ribbon cutting ceremony during the course of her new term of office.

With Mr. Fleming seemingly already on top of the file, the task now for the North Coast MLA is to make sure that the Prince Rupert Middle School replacement file is the one that remains at the top of his growing pile.

Over the course of the last few weeks a number of news stories have been generated on the theme of rebuilding and replacing the physical infrastructure of the province's education system, some of the theme can be reviewed below.

Dealing with backlog of school repairs is priority one for new education minister
NDP government to spur school construction
Rob Fleming, BC's new education minister diving, into urgent priorities
A $5 billion Mess: BC's School Maintenance Bills pile up
BC's New Government Pledges Urgent Action on Education - Canada should, too
Seismic upgrades for Vancouver schools on shaky ground

In April, SD52 had outlined some of its Capital funding plans for the year ahead, noting that the Ministry of Education was considering urgent work for Prince Rupert Middle School, the main focus of that work would be to address required repairs for the roof, boilers and electrical system.

For more items related to education in the Northwest see our archive page here.

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