B.C. Investment in New Surrey Schools Deemed Insufficient: Criticism Emerges Over Timing

Credits: Surrey Now-Leader

Surrey is set to receive new educational facilities, although the timeline for their completion falls short of the school district’s immediate needs.

Education Minister Rachna Singh, speaking in Surrey, highlighted the BC NDP government’s commitment to addressing the surge in the student population by announcing funding for a new elementary school, Darts Hill Elementary, and a significant expansion of Grandview Heights Secondary as part of the 2024 budget.

However, these projects are not expected to be completed until at least 2028, a timeline that has sparked disappointment among stakeholders.

New Surrey School (Credits: Surrey Schools)

The school district’s request for nine new schools and 16 expansions underscores the pressing demand for more educational infrastructure to accommodate the influx of new residents to British Columbia over the past two and a half years.

School board chair Laurie Larsen expressed that the current provincial investment, while significant, does not fully meet the community’s expectations, citing pre-construction hurdles such as environmental and infrastructure assessments.

Despite an investment of over $750 million in new schools in Surrey over the last six years, including two new elementary schools and expansions currently under construction, critics argue that the efforts fall short.

BC United MLA Elenore Sturko criticized the government’s planning, suggesting that these projects should have been initiated five years prior to better prepare for Surrey’s annual increase of 2,400 students.

This student population boom has placed considerable strain on existing facilities, necessitating the use of portable classrooms and the introduction of extended-day schedules at some secondary schools starting this fall.

The community awaits more immediate solutions to alleviate the pressures of rapid growth on Surrey’s educational system.

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