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We need to do better when it comes to counting future students: Councillor Linda Annis

Surrey, B.C. (December 4, 2023): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says a report coming to council today that predicts fewer than 10,000 new students over the next 10 years from more than 51,000 new residences, including suites, needs to go back to the drawing board.

“The fact is, the numbers just don’t add up,” said Annis. “We do not do a good job of predicting the number of students, and unless we do better, we are always going to be short of schools. This report says 9,777 new students are predicted from more than 51,000 new residences, including secondary suites. That translates into just 12 new schools, but it just doesn’t make any sense when you look at the reality of the past few years. This school year we had twice as many new students as predicted, and we’re inching towards 400 portables, so clearly somebody needs to rethink these numbers because when it comes to our city, they aren’t accurate and it’s costing us and Surrey families.

“The fact is our city is growing and attracting young families. Surrey Memorial Is bursting at the seams with newborns, families moving here to find affordable housing come with kids, and you only have to knock on a townhouse door in a neighbourhood like Clayton to see that there’s more than .71 children per household which is what the report suggests.”

Annis said if the city accepts the report, families will continue to be short-changed when it comes to new schools.

“We have almost 8,000 students in portables, which is absolutely ridiculous,” said Annis. “The proof is we are already short schools and we are falling behind. A report like this only compounds the problem by undercounting the real number of students over the next 10 years. To say that Surrey is only going to get 977 new students a year doesn’t make sense, just look at recent years. The real number will be double or more, and that means we should be planning for 24 new schools, not 12.”