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More funding for Surrey schools coming, hints minister

Surrey parents head to Legislature to fight for more schools
WATCH: Surrey parents took their battle for more schools directly to the B.C. Legislature today. As Keith Baldrey reports, politics and an upcoming election might work in their favour.

A group of Surrey parents came away “cautiously optimistic” about additional funding in their school district after a meeting with Education Minister Mike Bernier.

“I felt he was considerate to the questions we had to ask. I expect there will be some announcements coming,” said Cindy Dalglish.

She is one of many parents who have raised the alarm over a new townhouse complex proposed near an elementary school in Newton, saying more schools need to be built in the region before more high-density residential complexes are approved.

Surrey is the province’s fastest-growing school district with an additional 1,000 students expected to squeeze in next fall.

The district already spends $4 million a year installing and maintaining almost 300 portables and there are more to come.

READ MORE: Skyrocketing enrolment has Surrey School Board asking for halt on development

“What we’re asking, what we hope they understand, is that no one is asking them to stop development over all,” said Daglish earlier this week.

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“What we’re asking them to do is hold on for a little bit. Just maintain where you are with the neighbourhood concept plan and don’t go beyond that. Just so the schools can then have a chance to catch up.”

Her group went to Victoria today to meet with Bernier, who said he heard their message loud and clear.

“It was a great meeting. I really want to thank them for coming here. It was great to see all the emotion and passion they have for their community, for their children. They were here to send a message to the province, that obviously we need to have more investments in Surrey to help the children and help the families,” he said.

Bernier agreed that more announcements on capital funding for schools would likely be coming.

“Surrey is obviously the largest, fastest growing district in the province, we’re committed to working with them, and with that means some further announcements very soon.”