Petition to support the extraordinary request of Surrey School District trustees

It’s just not working.

The formula and policy used to determine when and how new schools are planned for, approved and built is just not working in Surrey and both parents and trustees have had enough.

Currently school capacity numbers must be significantly over what a school population should be to prove over capacity – by the time a new school is built,often up to 4 years later, that school is already overcapacity on opening day.

Considering an estimated 1000 new residents are coming to Surrey every month,largely in part due to the never ending development, it’s ridiculous to continue to rely on this method of planning – it doesn’t work in Surrey. Planning documents that go before council when approving developments include estimates on how many students will enter local catchment schools. It just makes sense to plan as we go, rather than wait until we are bursting at the seams to do something. Parents concerns are now resulting in organized actions, as this story from March demonstrates:

This new website, created by concerned South Newton parents, shows extensive research and facts that support their concerns:


  • The District is responsible for prioritizing how Provincial funds are used, however, the District is at the mercy of the Province to provide that funding.

  • When a development proposal comes in to The City of Surrey, the area planning department sends out details of the development to the District for their feedback. The District provides their feedback in the form of a report. This report (along with other reports and recommendations) are then put in front of the City Council. After the City Council approve the first pass through of the proposal, you will then see the green development signs pop up in the neighbourhood. The District has no further say in the development process and they are only otherwise engaged every 5 years for neighbourhood planning (which historically is out of date before it is put in place).

  • As of March 7, 2016 there were development proposals for more than 550 units for our neighbourhood. We can only guess the number of proposals that will receive approval let alone the number of children that will be added to our community.

  • The Ministry of Education has different numbers of what constitutes a classroom than the District. For example, according to the Ministry, a Kindergarten class has a capacity of 20, whereas the District states there is room for 22.

  • Being conservative and using the capacity numbers, we were 471 students over our capacity in 2016 for our area (that is 6 schools in a 10 block radius – Hyland, McLeod Rd, Ecole Woodward Hill, Cambridge, Goldstone, and Sullivan.

  • There are portables (temporary relief) and there are modulars (permanent). Portables receive their funding from the operating budget which impacts the schools ability to provide other resources for their students (additional EA’s, library resources, equipment, technology, etc.).


All of it has lead to this: Surrey School trustees asking Surrey mayor Linda Hepner and council to temporarily halt new development proposals in certain neighbourhoods until the provincial government can fund the needed infrastructure.

Increasingly frustrated with the snail’s pace at which new schools are being built, Surrey trustees are asking city council to halt new development until growth is adequately addressed.

On Thursday, Surrey Board of Education Trustee Laurae McNally tabled a motion that the City of Surrey “temporarily suspend all new development approvals in the Clayton, Grandview/South Surrey and Newton regions until the Surrey School District receives adequate provincial funding to support the growing numbers of students moving into these regions.”

The motion passed unanimously.

“It’s the kids in this city who are suffering,” said McNally. “Parents have been unbelievably patient, but the province needs to step up and make some announcements in Surrey.”

The city says that’s just not possible. The province says they have committed to infrastructure investments but those investments are still not enough as new residents continue to flood local schools. Parents are feeling stuck in the middle,not knowing where their children will go to school and how crowded it will be when they get there.

I’ve created a petition for parents to show their support for the efforts of school trustees on this matter and to demonstrate their desire to see the city and province find a collaborative solution to the current problems:

After years of over-crowding in schools in many neighbourhoods in Surrey British Columbia, we have reached a crisis point. Current growth projections clearly indicate that infrastructure will not keep pace with development.

The choice seems clear, either the province must immediately move up infrastructure investments to keep pace with growth, or the city must halt development applications where schools are already overburdened. To that end, Surrey school trustees have now asked Surrey city council to ” temporarily suspend all new development approvals until the district receives more provincial capital funding.”

We, the parents of children in School District #36 know very well that our children are attending schools so over populated that resources and play spaces are stretched to the breaking point.

We know too that livable communities require vital infrastructure to enable them to be successful communities. Our children should not be forced to suffer the results of poor planning and policy decisions. Therefore, we are asking the city Surrey and the provincial government to immediately come together to collaboratively expedite a solution.

By signing this petition, you are indicating that you support the actions outlined above, in support of the students in School District #36.

This petition will be delivered to:
  • Mike Bernier
  • Mayor Linda Hepner & Surrey city council

Please stand up for Surrey students and show your support by signing here:

18 Comments on “Petition to support the extraordinary request of Surrey School District trustees

  1. School districts used to be able to raise extra funds through the “mill rate”. That was taken away from school districts several years ago. Perhaps it is time to re-instate it. With the loss of this ability to raise funds, school trustees lost their ability to govern properly for their school district and in turn, govern properly for the students they are responsible for. I am a retired Surrey teacher.

  2. little old linda and her council aren’t going to stop development, no matter what the problem or how negative the outcome. Developers need to make money so they can donate to her and her fellow traveller, Christy Clark, queen of the photo ops.

    it would make sense that when a new development is built that schools are built at the same time. Just think of the jobs. The province has the money. They’re finding $8billion to build a dam for Christy. they found $600 M last year to give to the film industry. But money for new schools, for get about it. What will happen is we will suddenly see a whole lot of new private schools being developed which is what the current b.c. lieberal government would prefer, in my opinion. Baldrey’s suggestion they bus the kids to Vancouver was about as dumb a thing I’ve seen come out of his mouth, as anything.

    It simply comes down to this. People voted the botox queen and the photo op queen into office and now they can live with it. In my opinion neither of them care much about the kids in Surrey and aren’t going to start caring any time soon. Do remember this is the premier and government which has over seen the highest rate of child poverty in Canada for 14 out of the past 15 yrs; where one out of five children live below the poverty line. So if kids don’t have enough to eat, adequate housing, does anyone really think Christy is going to care if the school is over crowded? her little angel goes to St. George’s. the minister of education looks like he has a poker up his ass and looks much too old to have kids in the school system.

    If people want more schools in Surrey, either change the provincial and civic governments or start building your own schools. Nothing is going to change. We’ve seen all the shooting in surrey and what has happened? Oh, right botox queen is letting the RCMP have access to the traffic cameras. Now we get to watch the crime happen. The idea is to ensure the crime doesn’t happen. If shootings aren’t being adequately dealt with don’t expect schools to be dealt with.
    (sorry about the rant. don’t even have kids)

  3. Vancouver School Board Trustees are begging for students so that they aren’t forced to close the doors on buildings that are not structurally sound, Seismically speaking. Surrey has too many students and not enough schools. The connecting vehicle between the two is that Skytrain should be utilized to send the Surrey students off to Vancouver’s Commercial and Broadway schools which would also solve school districts along the Canada and Evergreen lines.

    The ‘strapped for cash’ BC Liberals have short changed education in lieu of rewarding their friends with lucrative deals in the mining, energy, hydro (ipp) sectors…….

    The word on the street is that Education Minister Mike Bernier’s GCPE staff have sourced out some old Alabama buses upon the recommendation of BC Transportation Minister Todd Stone .

    • Not a solution at all NVG.

      No funding to upgrade seismically old schools.
      No funding for many things that parents advisory councils fundraise for. Education has been underfunded in many ways, for a very long time. That is an issue of itself.

      But in Surrey, we have a council who is rubberstamping developments knowing full well when they do how many children are estimated to enter the local catchment schools. It is in the documents that go before council. So they know when they approve over and over and over again…in the same catchment where the schools are all over capacity already…. that they are contributing to the creation of this problem.

      But they shake their heads and say it the provinces issue to fund schools, not theirs, trying to fully escape the responsibility of their actions in approving those high density units. Some townhomes are not being built at 15-25 Units per acre, up from the 10-12 that was standard years ago.

      From my post, from one small neighbourhood alone: ” As of March 7, 2016 there were development proposals for more than 550 units for our neighbourhood. We can only guess the number of proposals that will receive approval let alone the number of children that will be added to our community.”

      All the schools in that area, are over capacity.More large lots are being sold and flipped for future development…. and yet the approvals keep happening.

      The solution to bus kids to Vancouver is not a solution- the city invites and promo’s Surrey as an affordable place to raise your kids and for many it is and they buy homes close to the school for that reason.

      City leaders are eager to get off the hook on this and point to the province. But this was and is, a preventable problem solved by 1) pacing development in some areas and 2) lobbying the province aggressively for infrastructure funding to keep pace with what we already have… instead of hiring someone to lobby for LRT.

    • Now that ought to be good, school buses from Alabama. its is considered by some to be the second most corrupt State in America. if Stone has been talking to people in Alabama we ought to have a very careful look at the boy. (for more details on Alabama, its political fun and games and corruption, just check out Legal Schnauzer. found the blog when B.C. seemed, to me, going in the wrong direction. I typed in politics, crime, corruption, coal, gambling and up popped Legal Schnauzer. The blog gives you a good idea of how bad things could get in B.C. So if Todd Stone is recommending buses from Alabama I wonder if he found out about them from private gambling operations here in B.C. which maybe connected to Alabama gambling corporations. If that is the case, my suggestion, make sure B.C.’s children aren’t riding on Alabama schools buses. if Alabama is letting them go, they are most likely in terrible condition. How do we know they haven’t been flooded or through horrific storms.

      Of course on one level it would make sense. A government which leaves one in five children below the poverty line, inadequate schools, no food on weekends, 500K people with no family doctors, well then school buses which Alamaba doesn’t want makes perfect sense. This blogger is the one who first reported on any number of fun and games amongst Alabama politcians. His reward? Sherrifs coming into his garage, without a signed warrant, beaten, pepper sprayed, and placed in jail for 5 months. He was the only journalist in jail in the western hemisphere for his work a couple of years back)

      If they can do things in Alabama they can do things in B.C. and if a Cabinet Minister is in touch with ‘bus’ people in Alabama, we are in for a very “entertaining” ride. If Todd Stone has asperations to move his career ahead he can either drop his Alabama connections if he has them or Christy Clark might want to watch her back, if he has Alabama connections. Buying school buses from Alabama sends up all sorts of red flags for me, if it is true he is passed on the information.

  4. And then there’s the unknown factor of illegal secondary suites, correction, unauthorized suites. The municipality is paying for services of garbage, sewer and water (utilities) and not being able to collect the monies on unauthorized suites. You are! Our utility taxes would be lower if everyone was paying their share. School Trustees may only assume that one single family home will have one single family but with real estate agents encouraging new home owners to buy into the secondary suites as mortgage helper, the potential is there for two families with children. Helps the real estate’s bottom line, but not the municipalities.

  5. Just read Norm Farrell’s new post on his blog, In-Sight. B.C. has the money for new schools in Surrey. They’re just giving the money to IPPs. Norm Farrell’s article’s head line is: “IPPs received $672M above market price in 2015”. so if Christy and her b.c. lieberals can have B.C. Hydro pay that much over the actual market price for a commodity, they have the money to build new schools in B.C. I’d suggest they just don’t want to build the new schools. There are much greater rewards in paying all that money to IPPs. Might be interesting to see if those IPPs give to the B.C. LIeberal party and how much. Did any of these IPPs attend the soiree’s they held for Christy and cabal at $20K a head or other such sums.

  6. How could Hepner accept responsibility. she doesn’t seem to understand there is a problem. Now that is a problem.

    As to moving students on the SkyTrain from Surrey to other districts. that ought to be a good one. Every morning and afternoon, hundreds of children, most likely without adult supervision out on public transit. Can you say hello pedophile, hello gang recruiter, hello prostitute recruiters. Putting children on a sky train which frequently doesn’t work over the Fraser river, a night mare in the making. Can just see it now, hundreds of small children forced to walk along the tracks in the pouring rain. Where is Baldry’s brain? would not be surprised if he wasn’t sending up a b.c. lieberal trial balloon..

    Unfortunately there will not be any new schools in Surrey. Would expect Christy to promise some right before an election, but then of course it will take 4 years at least to build and by that time it won’t have been built. With enough resources a school could be built within a year, but there is no political will to do so. Christy and her b.c. lieberals know any parent who can scrape the extra money together will put their child in a private school or start home schooling.

    None of the children in these public schools are able to pay $20K to attend Christy’s soirees, so they just don’t count. People ought to remember this when the next provincial election comes around and make education a real issue, because it your kids’ futures at stake here. Children with inadequate educations are not going to be competitive in the world today. In crowded class rooms children will not get the attention they need. You can expect more social problems from that also.

    It might be nice living in B.C. but if I were raising kids I’d leave. It isn’t going to get better. Your kids will not be able to afford houses in the future. Getting a good job will require mandarin as many jobs already do. 500,000 people without family doctors. Gang shootings in surrey are so regular they don’t get mentioned until the 4th or 5th item on the evening news. Billions of dollars going to private corporations and politicians who hold “dinners” at $20K a pop. Now in my opinion that qualifies as corruption.

  7. I’ve got a couple of kids who are still in the pre public school age and we dread the scenario that will unfold in our neighbourhood. Sadly, we are looking at the private route (which is also over-crowded, because of peoples lack of faith in the public system). Frankly, I’d much rather send my kids to public school, but when the school is already 800-1000 kids over what it should be, and there is 3-4 more townhome complexes in construction within 3 km of it… it’s a dismal outlook.

    • I hear you Ken. This is why it is imperative that residents pay attention to those green signs in every area, and attend the public hearings on them,or at least submit their objections. I know from past experience that often city council completely ignores even a large number of people and approves them anyways, but they take for granted that many people wont show up.

      I just can’t even wrap my head around why council won’t see the impact of all the amendments to the NCP, and OCP they have made. Many of these developments are the results of amendments. There is no cumulative impact considered, most council meetings are akin to a giant rubber stamp approving over and over again.

  8. Pingback: Public meeting 7pm tonight, YMCA lounge,hosted by developer of 5750 Panorama Drive – Laila Yuile on people, politics and life in B.C.

  9. I know the diff between Prov & Municipal jurisdiction, However – I also know in NV they negotiated w developers to build parks, playgrounds and things in exhange for relaxed density. I’m sure Libs want another solution to be found so they don’t need to live up to their Obligation. Matching w Developer?