Number of portables at Surrey schools set to climb once again
Despite promises from the B.C. NDP in the last election to cut the number of portables at schools in Surrey, the district is adding even more this year.
In fact, the Surrey School District will spend nearly $9 million on portables this year.
The district typically spends about $4 million a year to maintain existing portables, but the bill is more than doubling to $8.5 million.
District spokesperson Doug Strachan told Global News the figure includes $1.2 million for 11 new portables, along with about $2 million to move portables around and $5 million for maintenance.
“We do expect an increase in enrolment, and of course we’ll confirm where that sits in September. But even going by the previous years, there’s nothing to indicate it will taper off,” he said.
Coverage of Surrey schools on Globalnews.ca:
Strachan says Surrey’s student population increases by between 700 and 1,000 every year.
“It’s great that we have young families coming to Surrey and White Rock. There are places where you can relatively still afford a home, but it is certainly a challenge to keep on top of the growing enrolment,” he said.
The Surrey School District — B.C.’s biggest — has about 71,000 students enrolled, and about 10 per cent of them were educated in portables this year.
There are currently about 325 portables in the district, 50 of which were added last fall.
The NDP has committed to a target of zero portables in Surrey, but has admitted that it could take as long as four years to get there.
Surrey is currently in the process of adding two new high schools.
One, located in Clayton Heights, is slated to open later this year. A second school in the Grandview Heights area is due to be completed in 2020.
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