Quebec schools are even worse off than the Ministry of Education thought. In one year, the maintenance deficit of elementary and secondary schools jumped from $ 1.8 billion to $ 3.3 billion because the real picture of the situation is becoming clearer.
T he Québec Infrastructure Plan (PQI) states that “the state of school infrastructure has deteriorated considerably this year”.
At present, only 45% of primary schools and 53% of secondary schools are in satisfactory condition. The other half of Quebec schools get D or E age ratings, meaning they are in a bad or bad state.
“Our schools are worse than last year, but not as bad as next year. It gets worse every year, “said the MP for the Coalition avenir Quebec (CAQ) Jean-Francois Roberge, who put these figures forward in the question period of the National Assembly.
“The colleague is right. There is one school in two that needs love in Quebec. It’s true then it will take years to get there [to renovate], “admitted the Minister of Education Sébastien Proulx.
The minister explains that his government is doing its utmost to turn things around. However, he can not repair the schools during the school year, while the children attend them, he argued.
The worst coming
The Ministry of Education believes that the overall picture of the dilapidated schools could get worse. First, because a new, more accurate building inspection process was implemented last year. Currently, approximately 66% of the buildings have been inspected using the new formula. The ministry expects that the exercise will be completed by 2020 in all school boards in Quebec.
Some school boards also failed to provide a realistic assessment of their renovation needs. For example, Esther Chouinard, spokesperson for the Department of Education, explained that the Mauricie Energy School Board had indicated a maintenance deficit of $ 0 in 2016-2017, whereas today, “Thanks to a better knowledge of the state of its school infrastructure”, the work is more like $ 38 million.
The dilapidated state of schools could also increase because some school boards are not able to increase the pace of completion of the work. Money is available, but work is slow in coming.
The PQI indicates that in 2016 and 2017, the government has announced additional $ 900 million to renovate schools. But only $ 180 million has been spent. The rest of the money will have to be invested by 2021-2022.
Ms. Chouinard indicates that the department is still “confident” to meet its objectives: that the entire school housing stock in Quebec be in a satisfactory state by 2030.