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Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley makes her way through the crowd during a rally in Edmonton on March 17, 2019.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley is promising to hire nearly 1,000 more teachers this fall if her party returns to power after the April 16 election.

Ms. Notley says an additional 15,000 students are projected to be in classrooms when the next school year starts and it’s critical to give them the supports they need.

She says an NDP government would hire 600 teachers and another 400 would come through a $23-million increase in the province’s classroom-improvement fund.

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The fund is delivered to schools based on student enrolment and is meant to help retain teachers, hire new ones and pay for resources to help students with complex needs.

Ms. Notley is also promising that the NDP would spend $1.3-billion to build and upgrade another 70 schools. There would also be money to ensure every new and modernized school came with a playground.

Another $5-million a year would go to replace 100 aging and outdated play areas.

She criticizes her opponent, United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney, for failing to promise to fund enrolment growth. She says that would mean cuts and bigger classrooms.

“Parents need to know when they take their kids to school, they want to know that their child is going to be in a class that’s an appropriate size,” Ms. Notley said Thursday.

“[Failing to fund growth] will create chaos and will undermine the quality of education that our kids receive. There’s no need to do that. It’s just the wrong priorities.”

Mr. Kenney has said he would keep funding at current levels, and possibly increase it, but would be looking to find savings in administration to get more money to teachers.

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United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney details the "UCP Fight Back Strategy" against foreign anti-oil special interests, in front of the Trans Mountain Edmonton Terminal on March 22, 2019.

CANDACE ELLIOTT/Reuters

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