A group a Surrey business people, developers and parents have joined forces to voice their concerns to Surrey council about a lack of school funding throughout the district.
The Surrey Schools Coalition (SSC) made a presentation to council last Monday (Nov. 7), hoping to find common ground and extend a hand to the city in a concentrated effort to influence the province to more adequately fund construction of schools in over-crowded areas of the city.
The SSC, made up of representatives from the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT), Urban Development Institute, Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association (GVHBA) and the Surrey District Parents Advisory Council, made a joint presentation to council members looking to find ways to fund schools and reduce the growing number of portable classrooms.
Following their presentation, SBOT CEO Anita Huberman said the message was well received by council. More formal presentations to both the Surrey Board of Education and the B.C. Minister of Education were recommended, leading up to the provincial election next year.
“Its not only the parents and the teachers, though they are certainly part of this coalition but its also business through the SBOT, its homebuilders through the GVHBA its the development community though the Urban Development Institute, coming together to say to mayor and council we want you to work together with us in collaboration to speak to the province to find unique ways to make sure that our kids are getting the quality education that they need,” said Huberman.
“We’re presenting a very unique coming together of associations in the name of education for our children.”
The SBOT by no means wants to slow development in the city, said Huberman, citing the “good quality job opportunities” associated with new home construction and the steady stream of newcomers to the city.
“It’s the infrastructure planning now and into the future that members of the coalition believe is the greatest concern,” she said.
With the provincial government scheduled to present a new budget in February of 2017, the SCC is also requesting the provincial government target more budget dollars to high-growth areas of the province, specifically Surrey.
“There needs to be a lot of courage and innovation to make this work,” said Huberman. “We’re all concerned, it’s a crisis right now what is happening in Surrey.”