Naqvi promises to help rebuild urban schools if elected

Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi is promising that if his party is re-elected they will help school boards get the money needed to renovate aging inner city schools.

He's looking at expanding a policy that allows the board to levy fees from new commercial and residential development.

Right now schools can only use money gleaned from Education Development Charges (EDC) to acquire new land or expand schools, but Naqvi said the changes would allow boards to use the money to renovate existing schools too.

"This will allow school boards to have more flexibility as to how they use that money, to be able to use those dollars to rebuild and renovate schools as well," said Naqvi.

Ottawa Carleton District School Board Trustee Mark Fisher said that means they'll be able to update aging facilities sooner.

"If you look at Elgin Street [Public School], I think it's been on our radar for a number of years now and I suspect that if we were to have our way, we would have tried to address it five years ago," he said. "But you've got to manage that context with the amount of money that you know is coming in."

"That project, realistically is probably another five or six years out, unless we were to completely look at different ways to develop that site, but if the EDC change comes in, we would be able to look at that project in maybe the next year or the next two years," he added.

Fisher said hundreds of schools across Ontario could benefit from the change to the policy, which would not affect taxes.

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