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'Should've announced this school 5 years ago': B.C. investment in new Surrey schools seen as insufficient


More schools are on the way in Surrey, but not as quickly as the school district would like.

"With a record number of new people choosing B.C. as their home in the last two-and-a-half years, we know now is not the time to cut back on building schools," said provincial Education Minister Rachna Singh at a news conference in the city Friday.

Singh was in Surrey to tout the BC NDP government's plans to build a new elementary school and a 500-seat addition to a secondary school, projects the province is funding in its 2024 budget.

The projects – a new school called Darts Hill Elementary and an expansion of Grandview Heights Secondary – will not be built until at least 2028.

And the announcement comes after the district asked the ministry for nine new schools and 16 additions, leaving the latest investment looking like a drop in the bucket.

"I think, for most parents, it's a letdown," said school board chair Laurie Larsen on Friday.

"But there's environmental concerns, roadways, all of that has to be looked into before we can even start construction."

Over the past six years, the province has invested more than $750 million in new Surrey schools, with construction already underway on two new elementary schools and two elementary school additions.

Funding for other secondary school expansions has been announced, but those projects are not yet under construction.

Critics say the investment is not nearly enough.

"The fact that you know that it takes five years to build a school means you should've announced this school five years ago," said BC United MLA Elenore Sturko, who represents Surrey South.

Surrey has seen an average of 2,400 new students annually over the last two years, according to Larsen.

The rapid growth has strained the district's facilities, leading to increased reliance on portable classrooms and, beginning this fall, extended-day schedules at several secondary schools.

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Yasmin Gandham Top Stories

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