The Surrey school district has 300 portables this year, up from an estimated 250 last year. (Photo: File photo)

The Surrey school district has 300 portables this year, up from an estimated 250 last year. (Photo: File photo)

Rally planned calling on province to ‘fast-track’ new Surrey schools

Coalition urges B.C. to ‘write a cheque for $217 million to the Surrey school district now’

A rally calling for new Surrey schools is set for Oct. 28.

“Surrey has been patiently waiting for schools and the time to build schools is now. Any delay will result in higher costs,” states a release from the Surrey Schools Coalition, which is organizing the rally.

The group is a collaboration of parents (PACs), business (Surrey Board of Trade), developers and home builders.

See related: ‘Schools need to be built now,’ says Surrey parent group

SSC notes that while $217 million was announced in January, there has been only one approved project — $26 million for Clayton Village Elementary.

“We urge the government to fast-track projects via the Surrey Project Office currently waiting approval, write a cheque for $217 million to the Surrey school district now, fully commit and fund $250 million to $350 million of capital projects for the next three years, (and) waive distrcit financial contribution for new schools.”

See more: Province announces $217M in funding for Surrey schools

“Just build them,” SSC’s release urges.

SSC also calls on the government to pay for Surrey’s portables out of a special “growth fund” until schools are built, instead of the district having to spend an estimated $4 million a year out of its operating budget on hundreds of portables.

On Oct. 13, the Surrey School District told the Now-Leader there are now 300 portables in the district, up from about 250 last year.

“The siphoning if $4.2 million from local budgets means less resources (specialist programs, teachers, library resources, computers, technology, gym equipment, musical instruments, etc.) for students,” the SSC notes.

The rally is planned for Oct. 28 from noon to 2 p.m. at Earl Marriott Secondary (15751 16th Ave.).

SSC says it has invited local MLAs, Premier John Horgan, the Minister of Education Rob Fleming, as well as Surrey City Council and the Surrey Board of Education.

Before the rally, a meeting between the group and Surrey MLAs is set for Oct. 21 to “discuss the pressing need for new schools in Surrey.”

This is the second group in less than a week that has urged the province to fast-track projects.

The Surrey Students Now parent group describes the situation in Surrey as “alarming” and wants to “get commitments and hear actions plans” from Minister Fleming.

“Schools need to be built now,” they state, echoing the SSC.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

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