THE Surrey Schools Coalition said they were present at Thursday’s Surrey education announcement by the BC Government about a new school and more classrooms. The body calls itself a unique and innovative coalition of business, parents, homebuilders and developers.
“This is a step in the right direction,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “We are hopeful for a more holistic announcement on fully-funded projects in high growth areas in BC.”
Surrey is the highest growth catchment in BC where this year alone the Surrey School Board saw an increase of over 1,200 students than projected, leading to the district being 128% over capacity in high growth areas with 317 portables.
The Surrey Schools Coalition still wants to hear some good news on their immediate demand for $217 million to the Surrey School Board (as announced by the previous BC government) and reiterated by the current government’s September budget update.
“We were pleased to hear the integration and implementation of an active Surrey Project office,” said Huberman.
In addition, the coalition wants a special ‘growth fund’ of $4.2 million to pay for portables. The BC Government is being asked to fully commit and fund $250M to $350M of capital projects in the next three years and fund new schools without district contribution. Education, both quality curriculum and quality surroundings, are needed for students to be leaders locally and globally through career and entrepreneur pathways.
“Also, the long-term ask is a new funding formula for high-growth areas to ensure that other cities do not face this situation in the future,” said Huberman. “In addition, the coalition was pleased to hear Minister [Harry] Bains articulate the need for an eventual removal of all portables in Surrey. How long that will take remains unclear.”
Surrey has the largest school district in BC. Classrooms have been growing as a result of Surrey’s rapidly growing population and demographics of young families.
The Surrey School Coalition’s premise is that the construction of new schools in high growth areas benefit students in Surrey, contributes to healthy communities, and enables economic growth through development.