Government is exercising its contractual right to buy 11 of 16 schools from OMERS and Ashford Investments when the leases expire in November 2020.
In order to protect the right to purchase at prices in the existing agreement, government was required to give notice to purchase, surrender or extend the lease of 13 schools by Nov. 30, 2016.
The purchase price for the 11 schools is $50.5 million.
The schools were developed in partnership by BPC Penco (Nova Scotia) Inc., a portfolio company of OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) and Ashford Investments.
“The Cape Breton, Strait Regional, South Shore, and Chignecto-Central school boards identified these schools as ones that need to stay open and continue to provide a good learning environment for students living in the surrounding communities,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey.
“As in an earlier agreement with Scotia Learning Centres, purchasing is more affordable than extending the leases and provides the added benefit of ownership while providing a long-term solution to providing schools for these areas.”
The province also announced its intention to surrender rights to two schools in Sydney, Harbourside Elementary School and Sherwood Park Education Centre. After an extensive review process the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board voted to close the two schools when the leases expire.
The province earlier reached an agreement with OMERS to extend the notification date until July 2017 on its decision for three other schools in the Strait area, Bayview Education Centre in Port Hood, Antigonish Education Centre, and Dalbrae Academy in Mabou.
The schools to be purchased are:
— Amherst Regional High School, Chignecto Central Regional School Board
— Greenfield Elementary School, River Ryan, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board
— Jubilee Elementary School, Sydney Mines, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board
— North Highlands Elementary School, Aspy Bay, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board
— Riverside Elementary School, Albert Bridge, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board
— Tamarac Education Centre, Port Hawkesbury, Strait Regional School Board
— Cape Smokey Elementary School, Ingonish, Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board
— Richmond Education Centre/Academy, Louisdale, Strait Regional School Board
— Aspotogan Consolidated Elementary School, Hubbards, South Shore Regional School Board
— Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre/Academy, Terre Noire, Strait Regional School Board
— East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy, Monastery, Strait Regional School Board.
OMERS will continue to own and operate the schools until the leases expire. The notice to purchase or surrender does not close the door for future conversations with Ashford Investment before the end of the lease term in 2020. There are 39 P3 schools in the province.
Notification dates on schools owned by Nova Learning, OMERS, Scotia Learning, and the Hardman Group range from November 2016 to August 2018.
“We are continuing negotiations with the remaining developers with the commitment to reach the best options for the province and for students and in the best interest of Nova Scotia taxpayers,” said Ms. Casey.