1 in 10 Surrey students in portables
By 2011, about 7,300 students in the Surrey School District will likely be attending classes in portables. That’s at least one in 10 kids – the equivalent of all the children at 12 elementary schools.
Surrey currently has 217 portables (not including the 45 being used during seismic upgrades). By 2015, it’s anticipated there will be about 340.
The new Report on District Portable Inventory was requested by trustee Terry Allen last month in an effort to illustrate the impact full-day kindergarten, growing enrolment and a lack of new building money is having on the school district. It is to be presented to board of education members tonight (Thursday).
Adding to regular growth factors is the fact that by next fall (September 2011), more than 4,700 kindergarten kids will be attending full-day classes, as mandated by the provincial government. Those children used to be split between two half-day (morning and afternoon) classes, allowing fewer classrooms to be used.
The report shows 59 of Surrey’s 99 elementary schools will have no empty classes by fall 2011. Those without space will be forced to bring in portables to accommodate the additional kids. Because kindergarten children must have a washroom nearby, it won’t be them being moved, but students in higher grades will be pushed out of their schools and into portables.
It’s anticipated schools such as A.J. McLellan, Cambridge, T.E. Scott and Hazelgrove elementaries will have 11 portables or more filed side-by-side on their school grounds.
Each portable costs about $100,000. Fifty portables? That’s $5 million. And so far, the provincial government won’t provide cash for portables, meaning the money comes out of operating funding.
The Ministry of Education repeatedly says they’ve increased education funding and argues Surrey has received building funding. But the only capital money to come here since 2005-06 has been for seismic upgrades, not for new school space.