News & Issues

Dirks attacks CBE for overpriced headquarters that he championed

Posted on April 24, 2015 by Greg Clark

On the campaign trail in Calgary-Elbow, Education Minister Gordon Dirks has been busy attacking the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) for spending on its “large headquarters budget”. Back in 2008, the CBE entered into an expensive 20-year lease for its new headquarters.

"The CBE needs to make sure it’s spending its money on front-line classroom services, not in the large headquarters budget, and there’s hundreds of millions of dollars spent on non-teaching costs in the CBE and in other school boards.” -Gordon Dirks, Metro Calgary



Dirks seems to have conveniently forgotten that he championed the CBE’s move into their new headquarters when he was a school trustee back in 2008

Last September, the Calgary Herald revealed leaked documents showing that Gordon Dirks pushed for the overpriced CBE headquarters when he was trustee for the Board. He even made the motion to approve the 20-year lease in 2008, deemed by a real-estate expert as perhaps the “worst real estate deal in Calgary’s history”

Dirks continues to avoid the real issue

As a result of Dirks championing the CBE headquarter deal, taxpayers are stuck with it until the 2028, when the lease expires. Now, rather than taking responsibility for his mistake, Dirks is increasing class sizes in your kids’ school.

School boards push back against Dirks’ education cuts

This week 19 Alberta school boards from across the province pushed back against Education Minister Gordon Dirks’ cuts to education. The school boards pointed out that not a single new teacher will be funded to accommodate the anticipated 36,000 new students entering the school system over the next three years. This means that parents can expect to see significant increases in their children’s class sizes.

CBE warns of “massive” jump in class sizes, impacts to quality of education

The CBE has released a report warning that Dirks’ cuts to education will result in a massive increase in class sizes. The CBE is anticipating average high school class sizes increasing by 5.6 students, middle-school classes by 5 students and elementary classes by 4 students by 2017. In addition, the CBE said it will be forced to cut back on cleaning classrooms or replacing technology in classrooms until it breaks. Other school boards across the province face similar challenges. 

The Alberta Party has a better way.  

We would:

  • Reverse the PCs’ cuts to education and guarantee per-student funding to match population growth and inflation.
  • Invest in new schools to keep pace with Alberta’s population growth.
  • Phase out school fees.
  • Reduce taxpayer subsidies to private schools that do not serve the public interest.


Read our full education policy >


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