In the almost three years since students at Earl Marriott and Lord Tweedsmuir secondaries walked out of class to protest overcrowding, the situation has improved little.
We still have over 10 per cent of our Surrey students attending class in portables, and more than 6,500 students are attending four overcrowded secondary schools that have had to implement some type of extended scheduling in order to accommodate growing enrolment – doubled from 2011.
A new secondary school in the Clayton area will likely not open until 2017, and a secondary school for the Grandview Heights area is in the planning stages but not yet funded. While two new elementary schools and additions to two of our secondary schools will start to ease some of the pressure this spring, our growth is still outpacing new classroom construction.
With the continued moratorium on spending for new and additional classroom space, we fear we will not see any significant improvement for years.
We know that due to the financial burden of increased hydro and portable costs, our district has less money each year to spend on our children in the classroom than other districts. We know that portables and extended schedules have a negative impact on delivery of curriculum and that our ability to move forward with B.C.’s education plan will be negatively impacted by overcrowding and the physical limitations of portables.
In response to these worsening conditions, Surrey District Parent Advisory Council delivered letters to Education Minister Peter Fassbender from parent advisory councils representing the parents and guardians of approximately 15,000 Surrey students requesting additional capital funding.
The Surrey District Parent Advisory Council would like to see a financial commitment and plan from the province to catch up and keep up with our growth.
Bob Holmes, Surrey District Parent Advisory Council