FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is making historic investments in the public school system to provide New Brunswick’s children and youth with the best possible education.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Serge Rousselle made the announcement today while tabling the 2016-17 departmental estimates.

“These estimates reflect our government’s ongoing commitment to invest in education and to make New Brunswick the best place in which to raise a family,” Rousselle said. “By investing in our public school system, we are creating a supportive learning environment where our children can develop the skills they will need to succeed and to take part in building our province.”

In 2016-17, the department will re-invest $17 million obtained through efficiency measures and invest $19 million in new funding. The new investments represent a 1.7-per-cent increase from last year’s budget.

Under the pending new education plan, the provincial government will invest $8.8 million in 2016-17, with a further commitment of $15 million in 2017-18.

“The new education plan will provide stability and direction for the education system during the next 10 years while ensuring our system meets the changing needs of children and youth in New Brunswick,” Rousselle said. “The plan will be in place by July 2016.”

The department will invest $4.5 million in new funds to implement a comprehensive literacy strategy from early childhood through to Grade 12.

It will also make major investments in school infrastructure. A total of $108.6 million will be invested this fiscal year in several infrastructure projects around New Brunswick.

Rousselle said the department will start the planning process for eight projects in 2016-17.

Planning will start on the following projects:

  • a new Grade 6-8 anglophone school in Moncton North to address projected future growth in that area;
  • a new kindergarten to Grade 8 anglophone school in Campbellton to replace three aging area schools;
  • the replacement of École Arc-en-ciel in Oromocto; and
  • an addition to the Centre scolaire communautaire La fontaine in Neguac.

Mid-Life Upgrade Projects for the following four schools are planned:

  • Salisbury Elementary School;
  • Bath Middle School;
  • Bessborough Elementary School in Moncton; and
  • Polyvalente Louis-J.-Robichaud in Shediac.

The Mid-Life Upgrade Projects address the structural needs of schools while modernizing and extending their use by 30 years or more. The mid-life upgrade expense is a fraction of the replacement cost of these schools.

Work will continue on the following new schools:

  • a kindergarten to Grade 8 anglophone school in Miramichi West;
  • an anglophone elementary school in West Saint John;
  • an anglophone elementary school in Miramichi East;
  • a new francophone elementary school to replace École Champlain in Moncton;
  • a Grade 3-8 francophone school in Dieppe; and
  • a kindergarten to Grade 8 francophone school in the Restigouche Centre region.

Under the department’s Mid-Life Upgrade Projects, significant improvements will continue at:

  • Fredericton High School;
  • Harrison Trimble High School in Moncton; and
  • Polyvalente W.-A.-Losier in Tracadie.

Five other schools will undergo renovations and additions in the coming year:

  • Riverview High School, addition of classrooms and new vocational shops;
  • Gretna Green Elementary School in Miramichi, as it transitions to a kindergarten to Grade 8 school;
  • École secondaire Assomption, as part of a consolidation of schools in Rogersville;
  • École Marie-Gaétane, as part of a consolidation of schools in the Kedgwick area; and
  • Polyvalente Thomas-Albert, as the last phase of a consolidation of schools in Grand Falls.

“Our government is proud to invest in the future of New Brunswick by supporting the growth and development of our youngest residents,” said Rousselle. “We are investing more in our education system this year than ever before.”