Chilliwack students losing the space race

Nearly 1,000 Chilliwack students will be housed in portable classrooms this winter

As nearly 1,000 Chilliwack students faced another winter in portable classrooms this week, the provincial government proudly announced funding commitments for Surrey that will create classroom space for 7,000 over the next three years.

The move is justified, said the government in a press release issued Wednesday, because of Surrey’s rapid growth and lack of previous school construction.

Said education minster Rob Fleming: “Students in Surrey deserve a better learning environment and our government is working with the Surrey school district to get kids out of portables and into classrooms as quickly as possible.”

While it’s hard to begrudge Surrey the $166.7 million in funding approved so far – money for the construction of two new schools and the expansion of four others – it is equally hard to understand why the same urgency is not evident in Chilliwack.

“We’ve been growing by the equivalent of one small elementary school a year over the last five or six years,” said Chilliwack Teacher Association president Ed Kletteke in the most recent edition of Teacher Magazine.

There are currently 93 portable classrooms deployed around Chilliwack, giving the district the distinction of having more kids in portables per capita than any other school district in the province.

This, of course, is not news to anyone. The previous school board, and the one before that, cited the urgent need for school construction to keep up with the continued growth.

RELATED: Chilliwack aims high in school funding request

This fall students in Promontory settled into their newly expanded elementary school. But even with the addition, some students are still in portables.

The province also announced funding for a new school in the city’s south end, but construction won’t keep pace as more and more young families move to the area.

This government campaigned on the elimination of portable classrooms. And while its desire to provide “a better learning environment” in Surrey is admirable, Chilliwack parents might ask their MLAs and newly elected trustees why they’re not seeing the same results here.

READ MORE: Student enrolment up in Chilliwack yet again

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack band The Lounge Hounds ready to release rockabilly album

The local rock band is putting the final touches on its first album which will be pressed to vinyl

Trio of licensees in the Chilliwack Forest District were all in compliance

An audit by Forest Practices Board found ‘good forest practices’ according to a new report

From the Chilliwack Progress Archives: Fighting the Sumas 2 energy plant

In 2001, strong opposition thwarted construction of a pollution-generating power plant in Sumas.

UPDATE: Chilliwack youth coach acquitted of sexual touching of a minor

BC Supreme Court justice finds reasonable doubt despite not believing the accused

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

Calls about rock throwing on Golden Ears Bridge leads to arrest

Ridge Meadows RCMP arrest man with Canada-wide warrant for murder charge out of Edmonton

IHOP to host seventh annual National Pancake Day

IHOP will be offering free short-stack pancakes in support of BC Children’s Hospital on Tuesday

Do you talk to your spouse about money? 42% of Canadians don’t, poll suggests

Politics, sex, religion top list of taboo subjects for Canadians

Okanagan animal sanctuary seeks to fit frostbitten baby goat with prosthetic leg

Fundraiser started to help Zuri, newest resident of Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary

UPDATE: Two killed in fiery collision on Highway 1 near Revelstoke

The Trans Canada Highway was closed for four hours

Father, two children killed after car goes over embankment on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en solidarity protesters block rail lines in Abbotsford

Two dozen set up barricades between Riverside and Vye Roads

Most Read