Halman: School air quality reviews should be public knowledge

Parents and teachers deserve to know what the Liberal government is hiding about school air quality reviews, says PC Education Critic and Dartmouth East MLA Tim Halman.

“I worry that the only reason for the Liberals to withhold the schools’ air quality reviews from the public is that they are embarrassed by the results,” says Halman. “If that is the case, then swift action is needed urgently.”

On January 7 after the Liberal Cabinet meeting, Education Minister Zach Churchill confirmed that data from school ventilation reviews was being tracked and kept, but dodged questions about actually releasing that information.

A PC Freedom of Information request revealed that no information was available about progress on the file.

The last time the Liberal government stalled the release of a school safety review, it was revealed that 20% of all public school water taps in the province exceeded the federal government’s lead safety standards.

“When it comes to the safety of students and staff, the public should know the condition of school ventilation systems,” says Halman. “We cannot continue to jump through hoops and play games to get transparency and accountability from our government, and certainly not on matters of health and safety.”

On December 9, at the Public Accounts Committee, Halman brought forward a motion requesting that the Committee invite representatives from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to answer questions about the federal Safe Return to Class Fund, including the $2.7 million allocated for ventilation inspections and upgrades.

The Liberals voted against discussing how this money was spent.
“If the school ventilation reviews have found no concerns, then there is no reason for the government not to release them and put the minds of parents and staff at ease,” says Halman.