FREDERICTON (GNB) – In an effort to ensure transparency, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development made public today an analysis tool used to establish the priority ranking for school infrastructure projects.

“New Brunswick has limited resources and it is important to have an objective process when it comes to setting priorities and making decisions,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy. “This tool allows the department to respect the role of the district education councils while providing a provincial perspective to long-term capital planning.”

The Quadruple Bottom Line Multi-Criteria analysis process provides an unbiased, data-driven analysis which is used annually to evaluate major capital school infrastructure projects that have been requested by the school districts. These projects are over $1 million and include renovations to existing schools as well as new construction projects. An overview of the tool is now available online.

The tool was developed in 2014 with the assistance of school districts and experts at Ernst & Young. It includes 15 indicators divided into four quadrants: economy, environment, social, and cultural.

“Before this tool was introduced, the department did not have a comprehensive, analytical, evidence-based tool to support the priority setting process,” said Cardy. “Therefore, it was susceptible to subjective or partisan considerations.”

Every year, school districts evaluate their regional needs based on factors such as demographics and age or condition of existing infrastructure and submit a list of major capital project requests to the department. The department uses the tool to assess and prioritize all submissions in order to create a provincial priority list of capital projects based on a high to low ranking. The evaluation process for all projects is undertaken by the same team of knowledgeable staff to ensure a consistent analysis of all projects.