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With parents upset over Surrey's extended school schedule, politicians point fingers at province

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As families brace for the extended day schedule beginning at some Surrey high schools this fall, politicians are blaming the B.C. government for not adequately addressing overcrowding in the district.

The new schedule will affect students at Grandview Heights Secondary, Fleetwood Park Secondary, Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary, Kwantlen Park Secondary, and Tamanawis Secondary starting in September, leaving some parents concerned about disruptions to their daily life.

Carly Grier, who has four children at Tamanawis, called the decision “unsettling,” and said it has created uncertainty for her household.

"It's going to put a strain on us and on all families,” said Grier.

Fraser Heights Secondary and Salish Secondary are also being considered for an extended day. Decisions for those schools are expected by May, and will be based on student course selections and enrolment.

Laurie Larsen, chairperson for the school board, said it's a decision local officials did not want to make.

"It’s an ongoing issue in Surrey, and a temporary fix until we can get more additions and certainly the promise of more schools,” she said.

It's not the first time Surrey has tried an extended day program. In 2011, the schedule was tested at two high schools, which led to rallies and petitions from parents.

Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke expressed disappointment over the decision as well, and said the B.C. budget unveiled this week failed by not allocating funding towards building new schools in the city.

"You need to help us. You need to put infrastructure into this city that you know full well is going to be at a million people in 20 years,” Locke said.

The school board also blames a lack of funding from the provincial government for the move to an extended day.

"It comes to a point where we will have to say to some students, ‘The doors are full and there is no room,’" Larsen said.

In a statement to CTV News, the Ministry of Education said the province is working with the Surrey school district to address enrolment growth needs. The province has invested “more money in the Surrey School District than any other district in B.C.,” the ministry added.

The province pointed to two new secondary schools opened in the city, and more than 5,000 new seats that are either open or on the way for secondary students. 

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