|Artist’s rendering of the planned “inner-city neighbourhood mega-school” in Edmonton.|
The Edmonton Public School Board, Alberta Education and the City of Edmonton are calling on more than a dozen inner-city communities in the capital city to close their schools and relocate classes into a huge “inner-city neighbourhood mega-school” in the former Rexall Place arena.
When the project is finished, Rexall Place will have become “the largest one-room schoolhouse in the world,” boasted a spokesperson for the private sector consortium managing the megaproject.
Lessons will be projected to students from grades K-12 in the bleachers via a special “Pedagogical Jumbotron” now being developed by school board technicians.
PC Education Minister Jeff Johnson hailed the cost savings expected from consolidation of all lessons in one location and the resulting reduction of the number of teachers needed.
“Obviously, this will also make it a lot easier to test and recertify the few teachers we do keep every five years or so, and to find new ones to replace the ones we have to let go for underperformance,” he said. “And we’ve never seen any reason why students can’t learn in large classes.”
“We expect this consolidation to be as big a success as Alberta Health Services,” he said.
Edmonton mayor Don Iveson expressed delight with the plan. “Quite frankly, Rexall Place was going to be a really embarrassing white elephant until this idea came along, what with the new arena we’re building for the Oilers on the other side of the LRT tracks.”
“I’m not saying it’s on the on the wrong side of the tracks, mind you,” Iveson added. “There is no wrong side of the tracks in Edmonton. Just two sides. And City Council is not taking sides.”
The Wildrose Opposition also praised the plan. Said leader Danielle Smith: “As soon as we’re the government, which will be pretty soon, we expect, we’ll give the old schools away to the charter schools we plan to set up. So there’s something in this for everyone!”
A spokesperson for the Alberta Teachers Association refused to comment on the plan. “We’ve been advised by our lawyers that this might be construed as an illegal strike under Bill 45, and we’d be fined a million dollars a day, so, sorry,” he whispered before abruptly hanging up.