EDMONTON - Public Interest Alberta, a non-partisan progressive advocacy organization, encouraged support for Edmonton Public Trustee Bridget Stirling’s motion, to ensure the public nature of school ownership and operation:
The Board of Trustees affirms its support for publicly-funded, publicly-owned, and publicly-accountable infrastructure projects and will advocate for all new school construction projects to be built as public projects, not public-private partnerships.
Public Interest Alberta Executive Director Joel French stated that Trustee Stirling’s motion will provide a principled and unequivocal foundation for future decisions on school construction projects, and a much-needed boost to protect and strengthen the public nature of our schools.
“Too often, we have witnessed the incremental increase of privatization of our public services, particularly through the use of private-public partnerships or P3s, which have been advertised as ways of saving money but in practice have resulted in the transfer of public funds to wealthy private interests, the undermining of public services, and higher costs,” said French. “Trustee Stirling’s motion signals a determination to put an end to these practices of ‘privatization by stealth.’”
French added that P3’s have been tried in education, health care and other areas of public services over the past two decades, and have not only failed to deliver on their promises, but have had clear negative consequences for the public interest.
“The flaws of P3s have become readily apparent: The interest rates for borrowing by governments are always lower than that of private companies, corporations are focused on maximizing profits which come out of public funds, and the private businesses are driven to cut costs which results in increasingly-inadequate services.”
French concluded, “If we are serious about protecting and strengthening our vital public services like public education, we need to take a firm stand against P3s and in favour of publicly-funded, publicly-owned and publicly accountable schools. Trustee Stirling’s motion is a clear and forthright move in that direction, and deserves public support.”
Trustee Stirling’s motion is set to go before the Edmonton Public School Board at its meeting tomorrow.