Education Critic and MHA for the District of Port de Grave,
Roland Butler, is calling on government to get involved and
prevent the Director of the Eastern School District Darin King
from charging excessive fees to community groups that wish to
use schools for after-hour activities.
"When pressed on
the issue, this government talks a great deal about healthy
schools and the importance of fitness in schools; yet, the
Director of the Eastern School District is moving forward with
plans to charge fees for non‑profit, after‑school youth sports
It is time the minister made government=s
position clear on the imposition of these fees. It is time
government stood strong to promote the use of schools as
community resources, rather than trying to take even more money
out of taxpayers pockets.@
The Liberal MHA
says this is yet another example of how the Conservative
government is giving with one hand, while clawing money back
with the other. "In the same school year, school fees were
eliminated, and now it is reported that they are allowing school
boards to impose new fees. It shows the slippery nature of this
government and the underhanded play they engage in with the
people of this province.
"I have seen
reports that the local soccer association in Conception Bay
South already pays between $8,000‑$10,000 annually for field
rentals on school property. If Darin King gets his way, all
groups will be charged more. These fees are excessive and
unnecessary, especially given the beneficial nature of the
activities and the groups and the volunteers involved."
The Liberal Critic says schools are public buildings and they
should be treated as community resources. Other provinces such
as Ontario are being more progressive and coming forward with
funds to encourage the use of schools by the community.
I call on the education minister to become involved in this
issue and do the right thing . She should enlighten Darin King
that charging excessive fees discourages sports activities which
will impact negatively on student=s
fitness levels. The minister should in fact direct him to open
schools up to the community, as is the appropriate thing to do."