HALIFAX: The provincial government is purchasing a trio of local schools.

The Province of Nova Scotia is purchasing 10 P3 (public-private-partnership) schools – including Antigonish Education Centre/Academy, Bayview Education Centre and Dalbrae Academy – for approximately $49.2 million. The price of the three Strait area schools is around $16 million.

“The decisions to keep the facilities was a school board decision so then the province had to make a decision to either continue the lease or to purchase right out, and it saved tens of millions of dollars to purchase right out,” said Education Minister Zach Churchill.

“These have been identified as good schools… that are necessary pieces of infrastructure.”

Previously, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development consulted with the province’s school boards to determine the viability of the schools in question and 37 of the 39 boards reviewed were determined to be necessary. A release from the province states the department accepted all recommendations made by the school boards, in terms of purchasing, leasing or returning properties to the developer. Overall, the province purchased 37 schools at a cost of $215.9 million.

With the province purchasing the schools, Churchill said the decision, should one be necessary, to close those schools would fall to the various school boards. He also said the purchase is the most economical way to keep the schools open.

“Any argument that this isn’t the most economical way forward is not in line with the math,” he said.

NDP Leader Gary Burrill said the decision was the right move but still called P3 schools a failed experiment.

“Now, the people of our province are paying for the Liberals’ mistakes,” stated NDP leader Gary Burrill. “Buying the schools is the right decision, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Liberals have kept parents and communities in the dark – and it doesn’t erase the mess they have created.”