04/04/2012 06:57 EDT | Updated 06/04/2012 05:12 EDT

Alison Redford Education Pledge: New Schools, Upgrades To The Tune Of $2.4 Billion


CALGARY - Alberta Premier Alison Redford says her government will spend $2.4 billion dollars beginning next year to build 50 news schools and upgrade 70 more.

Redford told reporters in Calgary that quality public education requires quality facilities.

She said the program would begin in 2013.

"These projects will be completed within four years. How will we pay for these schools? As I said, the 50 new schools will cost approximately $1.2 billion — that's the same amount of one year of the Danielle dollar dividend," Redford said Wednesday.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith has promised to send rebate cheques to Albertans when oil and gas revenue hit a certain level.

Redford said the upgrades would require an additional $1.2 billion.

Smith said the latest Conservative promise has taxpayers footing the bill for more empty buildings.

"The PCs would have us believe that Albertans have to choose between educating our children and adequate health care or the Alberta Energy Dividend," Smith said in a news release.

"Nothing could be further from the truth. The Alberta Energy Dividend is only issued once the budget is balanced, all services — education and health care included — are provided for, and a surplus is generated."