'It's obvious': Catholic parents continue to push for a high school in west Calgary
Calgary parents are angry with both the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) and the Kenney government for delays on an essential school for their community.
The parents – many of them members of the West Calgary High School Advocacy Group – believe the area isn't being properly served.
"We do not have a Catholic high school in the west end of Calgary for the entire west quadrant of the city," West Springs parent Krista Li said. "That is not OK."
Currently, Catholic students who live in far-west Calgary communities are forced to either take a lengthy public transit trip to St. Mary’s High School or go to class at Ernest Manning, a Calgary Board of Education school. The latter has been over-capacity for years.
"It is 64 minutes for my child (to get to St.Mary's), if she were going to high school today," Li said. "That requires a train, bus and walking. Or I have to pull (my children) out of the system."
A build is on the to-do list, but it has recently become less of a priority thanks to district wishes and dwindling provincial funding.
A west high school dropped four spots to number nine on the CCSD capital priority list this year.
The district points the finger at the province, saying it only has the funding for one elementary/junior high school this year.
"The West Calgary High School, like all of the CCSD’s current capital priorities, is important and needed to accommodate student growth," a spokesperson statement said. "CCSD will continue to advocate to the provincial government for funding for new Calgary Catholic schools and major modernizations, as well as the staff and resources necessary to meet the needs of all our students."
But a spokesperson for Education Minister Adriana LaGrange shifts the blame right back at the district.
"CCSD's number one priority in their 2022-25 capital plan...was granted and slated to be built," spokesperson Katherine Stavropoulos wrote. "School boards are accountable to their communities and parents can raise concerns about capital needs to their school boards."
Li is upset with both sides.
She believes a new build would ease the population load on nearby public schools and appease many parents in her neighbourhood.
Land along 93 Street S.W. in Aspen Woods has already been set aside from a new school for more than two decades, but construction has never started.
"Either we are funding Catholic education in this province, or we're not," Li said. "And if we're not, be transparent about it and let's move onto something else."
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