Forums show new schools are top of mind for parents

SURREY – The biggest concern for parents of Surrey students is the building of new schools and keeping up with population growth.

That’s the news out of two community forums held in February and March to gauge parental concerns about the state of the district, the largest school district in the province. In a report recently released, the concerns show capital projects and budget implications are an area where students and parents alike are “deeply concerned.”

However, community members noted they understand and appreciate the board’s role so far in advocating for said schools and expansions and hope it continues to advocate for more capital.

On that same thread, community members also suggested the possible formation of a standing capital committee be established. The committee could be made up of board members, students and parents and focus on co-ordinating advocacy strategies for the district.

Money spent on portables was also part of the conversation, with parents most strongly expressing disdain for them. Students were not as concerned, with several saying that the portable conditions were “OK,” but could be improved with heating/cooling systems and wireless internet.

Parents and students said they would like to see more collaboration done in terms of community planning for new schools in order to mitigate impacts of overcrowding as well as looking at ways to accelerate the approval of new schools and building timelines. Rethinking boundaries was also mentioned as a possible way to accommodate the huge growth in some areas while others suggested adding to schools instead of building brand new ones.

Other topics discussed were calendar considerations and enhancing communication about student learning. Calendar considerations mainly focused on continuing with the two-week spring break model, which all agreed was working.

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