Enrolment at Surrey’s public schools has once again exceeded district projections, with the total number of students attending classes now sitting at nearly 82,000.
Presenting at the regular monthly board meeting on Oct. 18, Deputy Supt. Andrew Holland shared updated enrolment numbers for the district, as of Sept. 30.
In a previous press release from Surrey Schools, projections for the total enrolment of students for this year — including adult learners, online students and K-12 students — sat just below 80,000 students.
“We have seen rapid growth this year and last year beyond our traditional growth of about 800 students per year,” Holland said.
Last year’s enrolment increase came as a surprise as the district welcomed 1,300 more students than expected, for a total of 78,749.
With an increase so far of 3,089 students, Surrey school district has a total of 81,838 students enrolled this fall.
A noted increase can also be seen in the number of students receiving English learning support, Holland said.
“Students who receive ESL support grew significantly, up by 2,657 students total 22,947.”
In Surrey’s 103 elementary schools and 21 secondary schools — including more than 300 portables district-wide – there are 76,765 students, an increase of 2,494 from last year, Holland said.
After hearing the report, trustees once again brought attention to the lack of space in Surrey’s schools.
“We have a number of schools where, if I buy a house across the road from that school, I couldn’t attend that school,” said Trustee Terry Allen.
“Can you imagine? Can you imagine buying a house across the street from a school, thinking you’re going to make life easier for your children – and yourself, I guess – and you can’t even put them in that school?”
Allen also pointed out that the list of capital projects in the district that have received ministry approval is getting shorter as the years pass.
“It’s appearing to me that we’re being ignored. Our needs are being ignored.”
Trustee Garry Thind encouraged those present, as well as those watching the meeting virtually, to speak to their local MLAs and call for more funding for new school sites in the district.
“We are at the stage where we don’t have space to put (more) portables at the schools.”