NDP MLAs

School petition presented at legislature

Surrey’s shortage of classroom space got some attention in the B.C. legislature this week as local NDP MLAs presented a 659-signature petition protesting a lack of capital funding.

“Families are very concerned about the negative impact of inadequate school space on their children’s education,” said Jagrup Brar, MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood.

“Even the government’s own documents show that our secondary schools are at 117 per cent capacity. That’s unacceptable.”

Apart from money for seismic upgrades and full-day kindergarten, the Surrey School District has not received capital funding for new schools since 2005.

That has left thousands of students learning in portables throughout the district, often for several years.

At present, the district has more than 230 portables and it’s estimated there will be 340 in use by 2015.

Add to that the fact that there are about 800 people moving to the city monthly, and the school space crunch compounds even further.

To make up for the insufficient space, some schools, such as Earl Marriott Secondary and Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, are switching to alternate student timetables in the fall to accommodate more students.

Surrey-Whalley MLA Bruce Ralston called the situation “intolerable” and said Surrey is getting the short end of the stick. Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell agreed.

“It is high time that the new premier follow through on her commitment to put families first and provide students in Surrey with the funding that they need in order to ensure an environment conducive to learning,” said Hammell.

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