Despite Chilliwack being one of the few growing school districts in the province, it has repeatedly been denied funds for school expansions.
Promontory Heights elementary, Sardis elementary and G.W. Graham secondary are all bursting at the seams with a combined 15 portables on site; six at Promontory, five plus a modular at Sardis, and three at GWG.
With projections for those schools indicating continued growth, more portables will be required if not expanded.
Every year, for several years, those schools have been listed as priority for government funding. And every year, they continue to be pushed aside.
Candidates running in the Nov. 30 school trustee byelection were asked by The Progress what they would do to encourage the B.C. government to fund expansion projects in the Chilliwack school district.
These were their responses:
Harold Schmidt: If the original requests to fund capital expansions in the Chilliwack school district were denied by the provincial bureaucracy, the board, after consultation with senior administration and public counsel, should re-evaluate their data for new or alternate information to satisfy the provincial criteria for granting capital expansions and resubmit the request.
Corey Neyrinck: I think that the way to go to the government to get money is to go to the government with a plan to work together to get the funds and not just go and say give me give me give me.
Dan Coulter: I would work through the BC School Trustees’ Association to advocate on behalf of the school district for capital funding, and work with our local MLAs to find an equitable solution.
Karen Jarvis: It is important to note that not all requests are actually denied. For the critical requests which are denied, I would need to find out why. I would then work with my colleagues to have the shortcomings addressed so that the requests could be resubmitted. We must be relentless as a board in the pursuit of the critical funding that our district needs.
Ben Besler: Building relationship is how you get things done. I would use the relationships that I have built with provincial decision makers to lobby for improvements to the Chilliwack school district.