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Funding for new high school good news for outgoing Stratford mayor

David Dunphy
David Dunphy - Dave Stewart

STRATFORD - Outgoing Stratford Mayor David Dunphy welcomed the announcement of committed funding for a new high school but said a new intermediate school will still be needed.

While serving as mayor, Dunphy had been a vocal advocate for the new secondary school.

The province’s capital budget included a commitment of $38 million over four years for the construction of the new high school.

“It’s definitely a great start,” Dunphy said on Friday afternoon.

“The future town council will continue to advocate for a (Grade) 7 to 12 school.”

Dunphy said the region will face the biggest growth in students at the Grades 10 to 12 level, followed by high growth for students in the Grades 7 to 9 level.

After a series of meetings were held with parents from Charlottetown and Stratford over the summer and fall, the Public Schools Branch recommended the province build either a high school or a combined intermediate-high school in Stratford but noted overcrowding was highest in local high schools.

Dunphy said the city is currently in the process of identifying centrally located land that could be used for the school.

He said he hoped to identify a site that could also accommodate the future construction of an intermediate school.

RELATED: P.E.I. government allocates funding for Stratford High

In the last two years, Dunphy said he has seen a groundswell of work on the subject by area parents and by staff and council in Stratford.

“There have been a lot of people behind the scenes working on behalf of the students and families in Stratford,” Dunphy said.

Lindy McQuillan, a district advisory council representative in Stratford, said she was pleased with the news from the province.

“I'm utterly thrilled,” she said.

“I consider this a great, positive step but a first step," McQuillan said.

McQuillan also agreed that an intermediate school will be necessary in Stratford.

She pointed to a lack of funding in the province’s budget for capital improvements to intermediate schools.

“We do obviously have overcrowding at the junior high level," McQuillan said.

"If you're a parent in Queen Charlotte School, you should be really worried."

Heath MacDonald, the province’s finance minister, said the province may still decide to build an intermediate school in Stratford.

He said a planned $500,000 school infrastructure review would look into school capacity in the region.

"They didn't take the other one off the table," MacDonald said, referring to the intermediate school.

Stu.neatby@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/stu_neatby

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