06/04/2012 05:06 EDT | Updated 08/04/2012 05:12 EDT

Minister hopes for labour peace with Alberta teachers as contract set to expire

RED DEER, Alta. - Alberta's education minister is hoping for labour peace with teachers.

The contract with the Alberta Teachers' Association runs out in August and Jeff Johnson said one of his department's three priorities is a long-term agreement between the union and the Alberta School Boards Association.

"We have invited the ATA and the ASBA back to the table with the province to have some more tripartite negotiations to try to come to another long-term agreement with the teachers so we can continue to focus our discussions on education and on the students," Johnson said at the school boards association spring meeting in Red Deer.

The other two priorities are passing the new Education Act and building more schools.

Johnson said the Tories plan to keep their election promise of building 50 new schools and modernizing 70 others over the next four years.

"We are focusing on that," he said.

"We are taking our capital plans and the priorities that we have gotten from each of the school boards across the province and we will be working with the stakeholders internally and externally to set those priorities so we can announce those in the coming months."