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Every candidate running to be a Surrey MLA needs to be challenged on their commitment to education in Surrey: Councillor Linda Annis 

Surrey, B.C. (May 13, 2024): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says every candidate running to fill one of the 10 Surrey seats in the upcoming provincial election needs to be challenged “on their commitment to fixing Surrey’s education issues, including the desperate need for more schools and teachers, and fair funding of the province’s biggest school district.”

Annis said the Surrey School Board deserves thanks for “telling it like it is” as they struggle to make ends meet.

“The board has approved a $1.14 billion budget, but in a growing school district like ours, it is not enough, and it is jeopardizing the education of our children,” said Annis. “We are short schools, short teachers, and short classrooms. We’re talking about running schools in shifts, turning away students, double decking portables, and cutting programs. And while we’re planning for up to 2500 new students in the fall, we all know that there will be more than that because we’re using an outdated formula to estimate new enrolment.”

Annis said she is going to bring forward a notice of motion to council that calls on the city to host an education summit that includes the province and school district.

“Our kids, teachers and families deserve better than this, and it’s time to get the players in one room and say enough is enough. Surrey is not getting the funding or resources it needs, and this isn’t good enough. Our city should have a zero tolerance for portables, and every parent who is paying taxes should be angry that the largest district in the province is falling further and further behind.”

Annis wants every candidate in the upcoming provincial election to speak up on how they plan to fix the growing education gap in Surrey.

“There will be 10 MLAs from Surrey in the next session of the legislature. That’s more than 10 per cent of the seats, and we need assurances from each and every one of them that education will be a real priority,” explained Annis. “They all want our votes, but we want to see a serious commitment and urgent results. It’s time we flexed our considerable political muscle in Surrey. The idea that a new school should take five or six years is ridiculous, and an insult to Surrey families. We need innovative solutions, including building schools into condo towers, and enlisting the help of the private sector which bundles multiple school construction in other provinces and leases them to government, which allows schools to be built faster.”

Annis said Surrey will be bigger than Vancouver by 2029 and will have a million residents in just 18 years.

“Everyone knows we are growing, and the changes the provincial government is making so that more homes can be built for more families, is only going to add to our already record growth,” said Annis. “We need multiple new schools, not two. So, when will the provincial government do the right thing and deliver for Surrey kids and their families? Our school district is full to overflowing, the need is real and it is urgent.”