Surrey students suffer from Christy Clark’s broken promises

SURREY— The Christy Clark government’s failure to act on continuous enrolment growth and project delays are leading to overcrowded schools in Surrey, with students and families paying the price, say the New Democrats.

“Surrey has been one of the fastest growing school districts in the province, adding thousands of students every year. This year, Surrey added 900 students over and above the expected increase in enrolment,” said Rob Fleming, New Democrat spokesperson for education. “This doesn’t even account for the 500 refugee students that Surrey expects to come this year as well.”

Boundary adjustments to school catchment areas – based on Christy Clark’s failure to deliver on promised elementary school expansions – means that Surrey families are not able to attend the nearest schools in their neighbourhood.

“All of these factors are putting tremendous pressure on a school system that was already bursting at the seams,” said Fleming. “We need to see real action from Christy Clark and her government, not more unrealistic promises and photo ops.”

Fleming met with media at Hazelgrove Elementary School Wednesday, along with Surrey New Democrat MLAs Harry Bains, Bruce Ralston and Sue Hammell, to discuss capacity issues.

“Students in Surrey are increasingly expected to learn in portable classrooms. The school district spends $4 million a year to service over 300 portables. The students in these portables would make up the 24th largest school district in B.C.,” said Harry Bains, New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Newton.

Sue Hammell, New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, added that the Christy Clark government’s response seems to be making more announcements.

“Schools like Katzie Elementary, built less than two years ago, are already over capacity. We need to take a serious look at this problem. Kids in Surrey deserve more than piecemeal promises,” said Hammell.

Bruce Ralston, New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Whalley, added that construction was supposed to start in spring 2015 for the new Clayton North Secondary School, with completion set for the fall of 2017.

“The Clayton North Secondary School project started almost a year late and completion is now expected at the end of 2018,” said Ralston. “By that time Surrey will have thousands more students.”