The already crowded schools in Surrey, British Columbia are expecting 1 000 new students this fall, including around 300 Syrian refugees according to the school district.
Due to the hasty developments of the Vancouver-areas city, schools all over the region are filled to capacity and many will need to use portables, said district representative Doug Strachan. The population in Surrey has risen by 100 000 between 2005 and 2015 and is expected to increase yet again by an additional 300 000 in the next three decades. Doug stated that the increase in students this year is somewhat similar to that of last year. “It’s not like it’s unusual or unique by any stretch,” he explained. “We’re chasing more than we’re getting ahead of the growth, we’re always playing catch-up” he said.
In May of this year, the British Columbian government stated that it would spend around $74.2 million to create 2 700 new spaces for students residing in Surrey, which was in response to growing concerns about the overcrowding and overuse of school portables. Four secondary schools have already resorted to extending schooling hours and scheduling shifts for students to accommodate the numbers well in excess of school capacity. Additionally, there are more than 270 portable classrooms currently being used to deal with student overflow.
Strachan went on to say that, three primary schools have constructed additions, which ought to reduce a portion of the swarming, and another secondary school will open in September 2018. The area has around 275 portable classrooms that it can move where required. “We continued to be pretty full as a district,” he said. Refugee families are open to accept assistance from Surrey’s welcome centre for immigrants. “We’re going to make it work, the students will get an education one way or another” he added.
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner says the overflow in schools won’t ease until the provincial government changes its policies around building new facilities. They’re doing all they can so that no kid gets turned away.