BC Liberals must address crisis in Surrey School district immediately

I am absolutely outraged this morning.

Children and teenagers who live in Surrey are facing a crisis for the 2010/2011 school year.

 There is no more money. There is no more space. Non-stop development in the city is constantly drawing new families and students to the district and has been for years. Nearly every single school in this district is grossly over capacity, some to the tune of 300 + students. Portables litter school yards by the dozen at some schools, for all intents and purposes appearing like shanty towns.

Because the BC liberals have refused, time and time again, to address the situation, two schools have been forced to take extraordinary measures to deal with overcrowding and safety issues related to it, by staggering start times and extending the school day. There is simply no other way to make it work in schools where the halls are so crowded safety is an issue. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/02/11/bc-surrey-schools.html

I can’t emphasize enough that this crisis has reached a breaking point. Literally, the students are the one’s suffering from lack of space, shared books and other school resources because the province has continually and repeatedly refused to increase funding to the district. Don’t take my word for it – a quick google search of Surrey school district + lack of funding, or budget shortfall, will bring up pages of media coverage on it. 

In a school system that has exploded so far beyond capacity, children will start falling through the cracks by the handful. It is inevitable.

It is shameful. Every time the Surrey school board approaches the government, they are refused. The liberals deflect by saying they just opened this school, or improved that one, or sent some new portables. They have blindly refused to see that these measures are nothing more than fingers in a dike that has far more holes than fingers to fill them.

What really scares me, is that the two biggest leadership hopefuls for the Liberals are Christy Clark, whose record as a previous minister of education is abysmal; and Kevin Falcon, who makes his home in Surrey just outside of his riding of Cloverdale and has remained silent as an MLA in representing Surry’s kids.

I looked at both their policy pages on education and saw a whole lot of nothing new but rhetoric. And even more, I saw things that might give a parent of a child with learning challenges false hope, which I think is really sick( he mentions supporting parents of autistic children and kids with dyslexia, but has no concrete action or initiative or even a promise that someone could hold him to, likely knowing full well parents in situations like these are struggling with the inadequacies of the  current system supporter Mary Polak created.  ) http://www.kevinfalcon.com/preparing-our-kids/

Christy Clark? I couldn’t find a damn thing on her site with regards to education, but then again, considering what she did last time around, that is likely a good thing. She doesn’t have a clue. What would either of these people do, right now, to fix the problem in Surrey?

I don’t want to hear from the liberals what they claim they have already done, I want to hear what they are going to do right now, today, to fix this embarrassment.

I want to see how strong their commitment really is to education and children, and I don’t want to hear vague noises. Neither do any of the parents, or teens in the two schools facing longer days and staggered hours.

John F. Kennedy once said:

” When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
 
 

We can’t wait 3 to 5 years for the ” system” to crank out a new school, we can’t wait even a year! The children of Surrey are in danger of losing their futures. This is an opportunity for the BC liberals to step up and do the right thing. Increase our funding. Fast-track a few new schools.  Put your money where your mouth is and demonstrate commitment to our children.

The people of Surrey –  and the rest of B.C. – are watching.

26 thoughts on “BC Liberals must address crisis in Surrey School district immediately

  1. Wayne Russell

    It is all so frustrating to the ordinary Joe like me. They can spend Billions (with a B) on oylimpic’s that most BCer’s could never attend. $577. million on a roof 80% of BCers will never even see. How much on sea to sky hwy? And you know the list. I am just an ordinary joe lunchbox but if it were me holding the purse strings. Don’t panic when I say this but think on it. Just take the Port Mann bridge? ICBC have over 10 Billion sitting in their account. I would take 2 billion of that and pay for the bridge. No interest and it is part of our hwy. system. Then put a toll on it with the dollars going back into ICBC”s bank account. No cost, no interest to tax payers. It is after all our money. This way the saved dollars could be used to support our schools, hospitals, and Medical system. Just an old man’s opinion!

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  2. Lynn

    Right on Wayne!
    They also want to spend a Billion (also with a B) to change over to smart metering, which has become a disaster in Ontario and US jurisdictions.
    But they ignore the future voters of this Province by packing them in like sardines at schools all over British Columbia.Yet DeJong the ding a ling tried to capture the youth vote by throwing out the idea of lowering the voting age. I say ya, go ahead, make a kids day by giving them the opportunity throwing you louts out of office!
    The Liberals are not capable of managing a manure pile let alone a Province’s day to day business and it’s future.
    You all can make promises until the cows come home. You can make it look like you louts are popular by saying the entire population in BC is signing lieberal memberships. Like always your marketing scheme is just a lie.
    Nobody wants your party around.
    Get lost. Beat it. Scram. Start looking for other jobs, cause come the next election you all are going to be just a bad taste. A stain in the underpants of every British Columbian.

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  3. Julie

    Laila, we must take note. Campbell does nothing that will cost him money. Health care, education, over 121.000 children, living in poverty, the minimum wage, he cares about none of that. Instead he, thieved and sold our BCR, for his and his business buddies gain. He thieved and sold our rivers, for the same purpose, our hydro, will go up to 55% higher. The price for heating our homes, has gone up. He thieved the HST from the people, and gave it to Harper. He gets money from big business, to fight to keep the HST. Only a very dim bulb idiot, would fail to see, the HST has killed this province. BC loses billions, from people shopping in the U.S.A. and Alberta. Citizens shop on line, because of the HST. The BC underground, is doing a brisk business. The HST has caused, a loss of BC jobs. We knew, Campbell lied, when he said, the HST would save us money. Our cost of living has gone sky high. NOTHING about Campbell is for the people. He’s for his own pocket, and for the money big business pays him, to keep the HST. Campbell works for Harper, and, Harper’s plot for Global governance. I googled Harper’s plan for, Canada’s Global governance. I even heard him talk about that, on TV. That’s exactly what is going on. But, as it was in Nazi Germany, people are waking up far too late. Hitler’s plan, was for a thousand year Reich, to rule the entire world. Six members of my family, were in WW11, to stop this from happening in our country.

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  4. islandcynic

    The school system is a ‘social’ system, so the Liberals hate it. They will do all they can to undo this system and to marginalize it. Parents need to be aware that if they vote Liberal, they will get no support for schools and hate teachers.

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    1. Laila

      Well stated Island Cynic. I might have to change my name to Surrey Cynic and join you.

      I have a vested interested in this, because although my second eldest will graduate in a couple months, and the other is in university already, I still have two young ones and will be dealing with the school system for the next 16 years…. gasp. Never actually wrote that down before and to see how long it will be takes my breath away.

      I worry. There is not a night that I don’t go to bed worrying about this. There is not a day I do not wake up with it on my mind.
      I have a child who has a variety of issues that greatly affect his life, in and out of school, and it has taken over a year of waiting just to get to a point where in a couple weeks we will be finally getting access to a solid diagnosis, and subsequently,be able to access help. I work with his teacher, principal and special education assistant on a very close, often daily basis and they have given tremendous help and support both to him and myself. It takes tremendous cooperation on all our parts to make his experience and education as productive as it can be. It is very hard for a typical child to exist in an overcrowded, underfunded system and takes dedication and focus on the part of each child and parent. But what about kids like my son, or kids from homes where there are issues that hamper education like poverty, substance abuse etc? These kids are very likely to fall through the cracks in the Surrey school district, no matter how hard teachers try to save them. It is impossible to keep tabs on everyone, it just is.

      Many politicians take their kids to private school, and while that is a personal choice, one wonders how they can claim our public system is so good when they have chosen the private route ?

      Wayne, your idea is just fine with me. Somehow I think that would interrupt someones plans, but your point is fabulous. The gov comes up with all this funding for things we sometimes dont need – right now the city of New West is fighting the North Fraser Perimeter Road plan for example – when that money is desperately needed for educating tomorrows leaders and workers and taxpayers. One would wonder where the priorities come from.

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  5. AJ

    Why bother waiting for commitments to education from Liberal canditates? – at least two want to starve the public system to the point where anyone that can afford it will flee to the private system. It’s one of the foundation blocks of the conservative agenda. They can’t have the future ruling class being exposed to the underclasses and those Marxist teachers!

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    1. Laila

      Koot, you have that right on the head. Especially the south part of Surrey, all fed cons and Liberals, with pockets of NDP here and there. Yes, those schools in Bountiful are something else, aren’t they?

      See Southridge school, a conservative liberal stronghold.

      Rick, that is a great link you have there. I spent quite a bit of time there. Some have suggested the city plays a role in allowing unfettered development – in one case I know of, a fairly new school that is already over capacity and needed portables to even have fulltime kindergarten for next year, is having a brand new development being built right behind it, in the catchment. There are about 20 new homes in the immediate area, and toss in a bunch of townhomes… well you get the drift. It’s a situation that can’t last before something gives.

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  6. John's Aghast

    When you consider how much Mubarak skimmed off Egypt’s coffers, admitedly over 30 years, but basically from a ‘have not’ country, it makes you wonder how much the Lieberal crime family managed to scoop over ten years, from an affluent, resource rich (at one time) province. I wonder how many schools/hospitals a Mubarak – Lieberal joint venture could build? I heard on the radio today that Mubarak might be wealthier than Bill Gates. Surely only in dollars. Lotta schools though.

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  7. Terrence

    Gordo has no time and money for schools and children, but he has time and money to set up a panel to review the killing of dogs! Well, I guess he has his own priorities – what does he care about peasants, let alone their children; dogs are what matter to Gordo.

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  8. Wayne Russell

    Terrence:
    Be carefull what you say on this, I wrote in Kamloops Daily about exactly this and got jumped on with both feet of many. I said. I love dogs but where are our priorities. BC has 10.4% of our children hungry. I see no uproar or task force to find out why our children are hungry.

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    1. Laila

      Or why 26 defenceless children trusted to the ministry for protection, died while in care. Wayne, I found this weird too. Yes, definately no doubts about it, the most heinous form of corporate cutbacks in the form of taking lives to save money. Completely inacceptable in my eyes, the way it was done. I understand the anger of pet owners who rallied, marched, tweeted and raised hell all over.

      That being said, where is that anger, the rallies, the demands for inquiry into the deaths of these children and why it has gone on for so long? Where is the demand for assurance that when the ministry apprehends children in an effort to ” keep them safe and protect them”, that they do not end up in the care of people unsuited to parent their own children, let alone care for others, that they do not end up maimed, harmed or as with these children, dead.

      I agree, Terrence, in my eyes no living thing deserves harm, abuse, or cruel treatment, but I still would prioritize vulnerable children over dogs, which I love dearly, anyday.

      John, it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the leg at times I think. Along those lines, you might find this conflict of interest into some shares in a company Campbell invested in, interesting reading :

      http://www.gov.bc.ca/oci/down/opinion_campbell_2009.pdf

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  9. islandcynic

    I love a good school like anyone. Attending a concert or play with sky high talent or when great report cards come home. Seeing our kids take in the world and digest it to mean something other than what is in it for them. I am thankful that they are there as the task of doing this on my own would be daunting.

    If everyone remembered to appreciate their local school and contributed to its’ success, no Liberal (Con) would be put in charge of them. Ever.

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  10. workforfun

    http://www.gov.bc.ca/oci/down/opinion_campbell_2009.pdf

    Did this onformation ever get into the MSM and get printed for public consumption ? I certainly do not remember reading of it – it could well be that I missed it, but there has been very little made public on Campbell’s situation. After all – a public figure and a premier to boot, should be above suspicion – and Campbell certainly isn’t.

    Something seriously wrong with this picture and the MSM won’t even touch it.

    Thanks

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    1. Laila

      No, that link was never reported in the news. I do know a couple of reporters were given the info, thought it was a wonderful story, and then it was quashed by the editors in both cases. This is why I thought it was so interesting. Feel free to spread it around, it is a public document workforfun.

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  11. Lynn

    John’s Aghast:I speak to a lot of people during the course of a day. Every single person is making comparisons of Mubarak’s stealing millions and Canadian politicians. My conclusion is there is no doubt in the minds of British Columbians beliefs. They strongly believe there is corruption and back room cash deals going on.
    People are becoming increasingly angry with the MSM turning a blind eye.
    Newly arrived immigrants are drawing strong comparisons between the leaders of their former homeland & that of their new country’s leaders.
    Isn’t that telling?
    We too will be dancing like Egyptians if this corruption and thieving doesn’t come to an end soon.

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    1. Laila

      Wow, Langley? So far, but if it is going to be a better education, we parents have to do what we must.

      It angers me that in talking to parents, they are as upset as I am, but when I mention rally, demonstration etc, thay all balk. ” Who me? Demonstrate? Rally?”

      Good grief. Nothing like a good old rally to get the word out and let the powers that be know how angry we are.

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  12. Donna

    I think the goal is, to force private schools. The BC government can then pack, the less fortunate students into the least number of public schools, as they can get away with. The government will rack them and stack them. I think this is even their goal, to privatize health care as well. I really believe, all of this is deliberate. BC is becoming, a third world province for the less fortunate.

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  13. Erik

    This neo liberal government will keep manufacturing crises..keep underfunding and undermining the Public School System until they get what they want…the busting of the Teachers Union .
    I mean hell…even Bountiful can do better without those unionized teachers to have to deal with…Fraser Institute says so…

    If the people of B.C. give a whit about education (and it`s debatable if they do) they better give their collective heads a shake and deal with this agenda of the provincial fundamentalist libertarians.
    Do the B.C. people actually believe in anything? Certainly not each other..and probably not even themselves.

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  14. Justin Case

    The public school system is meant for the general public at large. People who have money send their kids to private schools for a superior education. Public schools have to do a great deal of work with very little. If you think that the people who have money care about the people who do not have money, you’re in for a painful lesson in reality.

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  15. Laila

    I think when it comes to our children we are all very territorial and protective- whether the family has money and privilege or not.

    I know several couples who, although they are definately middle class and struggle to do so, have chosen the private school or traditional school route for their own reasons. I am of the belief that going to a private school does not guarantee a better education and often shelters kids from the way the world really works, and the people who comprise all of our society. I like that in a public school a child will encounter many different situations, people, religions and economic backgrouds- all of which give opportunities to learn and practice tolerance, charity, compassion and appreciation.

    Even if I had the money to do so, I would not place any of my children in a private school. But I don’t agree that people who have money don’t care about the people who don’t. I think in some cases, yes that may be true, but I certainly don’t begrudge someone who has worked hard and become wealthy their entitlements.

    This is about politics and how these politicians we elected are doing their jobs. In many cases, they are not and it is just as much our fault for not holding their feet to the fire for years, years, than it is ours. Yes, there have been many who have fought hard, but look at those who complain and then when you ask them to join you in fighting, turn their heads?

    Thankfully, in my opinion, this attitude of compliance seems to have changed. It an obliation for each of us to continue to push the politicians to work for their constituents and the people of this province.

    Final thought. Education should never be limited to the classroom. It begins and ends at home, whether a parent believes that or not. I have encountered parents who have never set foot in a public library, who dont have books in the home, but have plenty of video games. That is a travesty.

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    1. Laila

      http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/surreyleader/news/116168854.html
      The province won’t give our school district any more money. We need to cut 10 million just to keep things as bad as they are. The province has made it illegal for the district to run a deficit, unlike themselve which they changed the law for. How convenient. Read and hear the options we are now facing:

      To keep things just the way they are in Surrey schools – not add new services or programs or resources – the district will have to cut $10-million from the next budget.

      The Surrey Board of Education is currently seeking input on what its priorities should be in the coming (2011-2012) school year as it attempts to balance the books.

      Surrey’s total operational budget is about $576 million. It’s illegal to submit a deficit budget to the provincial government.

      This time last year, the board was having to figure out how to pare $12 million from the school budget. In the end, it was done by shifting specialist teachers such as counsellors and librarians to classroom duties, not replacing specialist teachers when absent three days or less, slashing supply and resource budgets and extending spring break to two weeks, thereby cutting the number of school days in the year.

      The board will be meeting with teachers, parents and other stakeholder groups in the next few weeks to discuss the financial situation this year and gather feedback and ideas.

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  16. Wayne Russell

    What a coincident, the roof on the BC place cost us so far $577. Million and growing. Ahhh! Priorities, priorities. Cutting the head off this snake does not kill it. Campbell has trained them all well and nothing will change. Recall them all. Maybe surrey could make a deal with the Federal government as did the Campbell soup troup?

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  17. Wayne Russell

    I’m right back here. Just told my wife what I wrote. She said, They should set up school in BC Place, Plenty of room. What do you think of this idea Laila? Push some buttons Surrey, you never know!

    Like

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