02/22/2018 10:27 EST | Updated 02/22/2018 14:00 EST

Alberta spent $2.7B in failed bid to cut classroom sizes: auditor

EDMONTON — Alberta's auditor general says the province has spent $2.7 billion over the last 14 years in a failed attempt to reduce classroom sizes.

Merwan Saher says in his latest report that the Education Department has not effectively overseen and directed the program.

He says the money was supposed to be used to hire teachers to reduce class sizes to 17 kids in early-grade classrooms and 27 students in high schools.

Instead, he says, the department stopped actively administering the program and the funds became part of general school budgets.

Saher says the percentage of school jurisdictions meeting the classroom targets has worsened.

Saher says Premier Rachel Notley's government needs to explain to Albertans what went wrong and what it's going to do about it.