Tens of millions of dollars will be spent over the next few years to house students in modular units, commonly referred to as “trailers,” because schools are overcrowded or under construction. In the Quebec region alone, 22 million dollars are being spent on this.
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This autumn, the Capital Services Center will accommodate 700 pupils from the secondary schools Roger-Comtois and Neuchâtel in 24 prefabricated classrooms.
These facilities also include a cafeteria for each of the two schools, two toilet blocks, a locker area and a staff lounge.
This is a “temporary solution for about five to six years” to “solve the lack of space” while waiting for the construction of the secondary school planned in Sainte-Catherine-de-la-Jacques-Cartier, said the spokeswoman for the service center , Marie-Claude Lavoie.
The school service center had to submit several applications to the Ministry of Education before this construction project was finally approved last fall.
” A fortune “
The Première-Seigneuries service center will also accommodate 900 secondary school students in temporary classes pending the opening of a new school, scheduled for the beginning of the 2024 school year.
About fifty secondary school construction or expansion projects are underway in the four corners of the province, but these projects have evidently not been carried out quickly enough to avoid having to resort to these famous “followers” who, according to the Quebec Federation of Educational Establishment Directors .
“There are many, many, many throughout Quebec, and it costs a fortune. This is the result of very bad planning,” says its President Nicolas Prévost. He complains that this money could have been used to finance student unions or to build new schools.
“We’re not fast enough”
For his part, Martin Maltais, professor of education finance and policy at UQAR and former deputy director in the cabinet of Minister Jean-François Roberge, reiterated that the Treasury “must stop blocking and slowing down construction projects in the school network”.
“You have to step on the accelerator. We’re not driving fast enough,” he says.
In the past year alone, $40 million was spent renting space on the school network, according to the Department of Education.
Since 2018, spending on renovations and expansions has increased from $9 billion to $21 billion.
The department prioritizes investments “by granting projects with the most pressing space needs,” says its spokesman Bryan St-Louis.
Amounts spent on temporary premises in school service centers
$12 million over a period of 5 years
$9.8 million over a period of 2 years
$7.4 million over a period of 2 years
$7 million over a period of 1 year
$3.2 million over a period of 1 year
$2.2 million over a period of 2 years
$30.2 million over a period of 6 years