The math “doesn’t add up” for a Surrey councillor who warns a capital plan endorsed by council on Nov. 22 will result in portables becoming a permanent fixture in this city.
Coun. Linda Annis was the only member to vote against the corporate report. Councillors Steven Pettigrew and Jack Hundial were not at the meeting.
While Annis says she’s delighted to see that seven more schools will be built over the next 10 years, she’s concerned about the city’s ability to buy the land in advance so as not have to play catch up “as we’re going along.”
She noted the provincial government permits Surrey to collect 35 per cent from developers to fund school sites “but because we’re not buying them up front, we’re always short of funds to acquire the land so I’d like to see us be a little more proactive in that area.”
Annis noted the report before council forecasts that 41,682 homes will be built but only seven new schools will be constructed to accommodate the roughly 9,400 students who will be residing in these homes. Annis said she’s having trouble with the math on how nearly 42,000 homes will generate only 9,400 students.
“That’s not quite working for me,” she told council.
If the seven schools are to handle 9,400 students, she added, “it tells me that we’re not going to be getting rid of or reducing the number of portables that we have in our city, and we’ve already got 365 portables.”
More than seven new schools will be needed, Annis insists.
“Frankly, the numbers just do not add up and it looks like portables are going to be with us forever, something that should upset every parent and taxpayer. The issue of portables and lack of schools has been with us for decades and until the city, province and school board take a zero tolerance approach to portables, they will always be there rather than the schools we actually need.”