About 100 parents of Earl Marriott Secondary students attended a Parent Advisory Council meeting at the school Monday evening to discuss the flexible class schedule planned for this fall.
The new schedule is to address space shortfalls by extending the school day to five blocks from four, with students starting earlier or staying later than they are now.
The plan is for Grade 8 and 9 students to start and end the school day at different times than most Grade 10-12 students – and have different lunch breaks – with the proposed school day falling from about 8 a.m to 2 p.m. for juniors, and around 9:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for seniors.
Surrey School District spokesperson Doug Strachan said parents at the meeting suggested adding more portables instead of adopting a flexible class schedule.
“The district doesn’t see that as the best solution,” Strachan said. “There’s just no place at Earl Marriott to put portables. They’re landlocked there between residences and streets.
“The other consideration around portables is the cost, in excess of $100,000 each. That comes right out of the operating budget.”
Also invited to the 7 p.m. meeting was Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg.
Hogg told Peace Arch News he is aware of challenges Surrey schools are facing, and has been speaking “consistently” with the ministers of education and finance. Hogg said he is optimistic more funds will come to Surrey, although when it arrives is unclear with government “to a large degree on hold” with the designation of a new premier last weekend.
“There will be money coming to Surrey – the board of education will have to make as judicious a decision as they can to decide where that money will go.”
Hogg planned to witness over-crowding at Earl Marriott firsthand Tuesday at 11:30 a.m., when he was to take a tour of the building during a class change and lunch break.
“Probably standing in a stairway between classes is a good way to experience it.”
Tuesday afternoon, after PAN deadline, students were planning to walk out of class and stand in front of the 15751 16 Ave. school in protest of the new timetable.
See peacearchnews.com for coverage.