Extreme overcrowding at schools in some areas of Surrey – and a lack of new building money from Victoria – is forcing the school district to consider moving school boundaries in several neighbourhoods.
One of three proposed boundary changes would shift students in the northeastern section of the Woodward Hill Elementary catchment area in south Newton to Goldstone Park Elementary, and students in the south end of the Goldstone catchment to Cambridge Elementary.
The change is intended to ease the continued space constraints and enrolment growth at Woodward Hill, located in an area where housing development is brisk. While one of the school district’s high priority requests to Victoria is to build an addition at Woodward Hill, funding has yet to come. That leaves the district managing the crowded conditions next fall by continuing to use portables (there are six at Woodward this year) and moving school boundaries.
A second catchment change would involve shifting parts of Katzie and Clayton elementary school boundaries to re-direct students to Hazelgrove Elementary instead. Again, while two new elementary schools have been requested in the rapidly growing Clayton neighbourhood, the provincial government has yet to provide funding.
While Katzie has five portables to house student overflow this year, Clayton has seven. Hazelgrove also uses five.
The last move to be considered is intended to alleviate current and continued growth at Sunnyside Elementary by moving students in the northernmost section of its catchment area to Morgan Elementary. Sunnyside, located in the Grandview Heights area of South Surrey, has one portable on the way. Morgan has three but currently has a two-classroom addition being built.
A new elementary school and a new high school in the area top the Surrey School District’s capital funding wish list, but again, no provincial money has been granted for those projects.
The school district says all schools in the Clayton and Grandview Heights neighbourhoods are under “extreme enrolment pressures,” while all schools in the South Newton area “are, or are expected to be, under significant enrolment pressures.”
South Newton schools alone saw an influx of 200 new children in September.
The proposed changes would not apply to students (or their siblings) already attending the affected schools, though those students could register at the school in the new catchment areas if they wish. Only students new to the neighbourhoods would be affected.
Feedback on the proposed boundary changes is being collected at http://bit.ly/1kqkAHY until Nov. 16. There will also be paper forms supplied by the affected schools.