Alberta Liberal Party leader Raj Sherman spoke to students in Brian Ferguson's Grade 5-6 class at Glendale Elementary School in Edmonton, Alberta, on April 18, 2012.
Credits: IAN KUCERAK/QMI AGENCY
He announced a plan to turn the buildings into places where everything from social services to community health can be found, effectively recycling them into medical centres, community centres and libraries.
"Schools are the backbones of vibrant communities. An Alberta Liberal government would make our schools even more dynamic than they are now by making them home to vital services for the entire area," he said.
The idea fits into the Liberal plank of making education more accessible and affordable, he said.
Other proposals from Sherman include ending school fees, starting a school lunch program, creating a $500 tax credit for teachers and expanding registered apprenticeship programs.
On the post-secondary front, the Liberals would reduce tuition by $250; creating an Education Heritage Trust to reduce and eliminate tuition by 2025 and forgive 5%, or $1,000, of student debt each year a student stays and pays taxes in Alberta.
Sherman also called for delinking parental income from student loan criteria, and expanding distance learning.
"Alberta has the lowest high-school completion and post-secondary participation rates in Canada," Sherman said. "It shouldn't be this way. We're the richest province," he said, calling for the most affordable and accessible education system for all learners, from preschool to post-secondary.