Surrey Schools prepare to squeeze in students

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Surrey schools will have to find room for 1,000 extra students this year when classes start next month.

The district hopes this is one of the last years they’ll have to deal with the squeeze.

Finding room for one thousand additional students is nothing new in Surrey, which has been constantly growing. This school year, 300 of them are Syrian refugees.

Doug Strachan with the school district says they’ve learned to get creative. “We’ve taken steps like changing school boundaries, adding portables of course, as well as at the secondary level, changing the schedule a little bit to distribute the students over a wider period of time. But we’ll be ready for them.”

He says one of the biggest crunches is at the secondary level, with Lord Tweedsmuir needing up to 18 portables this year. Some of those have been freed up now that some additions at some elementary schools are opening. The newly announced Grandview Secondary School won’t be ready until 2020 at the earliest.

They’ll make do, but the creator of the South Newton Community of Schools Facebook group says they shouldn’t have to. Education Advocate Cindy Dalglish says this puts the school district further behind. “The more portables we have to add to accommodate more students, the more of the operating funds is being used towards buildings rather than support services and teachers and education assistants, which is absolutely necessary in our district.”

She’s among the group of people asking the City of Surrey to hold back on development in her area until the educational infrastructure is at least closer to being ready.


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