All Candidates Meeting Information

The candidates listed below will be attending the Surrey DPAC All Candidates meeting on Oct. 16, 7-9 pm at the District Education Centre (14033 92 Avenue).

Select a candidate’s name to see their responses to six questions selected by the DPAC Board (click again to collapse):

Lisa Alexis

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

The implementation of Fresh Grade in the Surrey School System and creating a comprehensive Capital Funding plan. The new board needs to apply pressure regarding additional funding for more learning assistants and teachers aids for children with special needs, we also need to look at alternative funding solutions to create new spaces to stay ahead of Surrey’s growth curve. We need to drastically reduce the number of portables in the district by creating new spaces as quickly as possible in the district.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. Classroom Space- We need to have a forward thinking budget to create to spaces and get children and teachers out of the portables asap.
  2. Teachers Aids/ Learning Assistant Shortage- We need to work with the union aggressively in this next bargaining year to restore funding the 200+ lost aids throughout the last agreement. We need bilingual helpers, specialized in immigrant integration.
  3. Safety- Many parents are very concerned with gang violence in Surrey and the ease of access to drugs in our youth. We have a very diverse community, we need to ensure ALL students have resources to meet the challenges they are faced with in Surrey to ensure they are receiving a world class education in Surrey.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

We are not a third world country. Almost every single family in the district is among the top 10% of earners globally. If we are going to keep complaining about funding, parents (myself included) need to step up and be willing to be a part of the change. That being said, we are all challenged by the cost of living in Vancouver Lower Mainland area. Municipally, we need to set precedence and priority for our children by contributing to the solution. Once elected, I plan to continue to rally the provincial and federal government. That being said we may need to increase city taxes or have parents pay additional amounts for school fees within the district to meet budget needs.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

I 100% support use of school facilities for after school and extra curricular programs. I believe non profit organizations and businesses will come along this idea to provide support volunteers and funding.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

As previously mentioned, with the upcoming year being a bargaining year for the Teachers Union. Special needs families need to become more of a priority Surrey’s budget allocation. I want to work with parents and professionals in the community to ensure that the resources required are readily available within our district. Everything within the district is financial, in that more financial resources need to be available to execute what parents want to see for their children in Surrey. I believe my experience working with high net worth clients assisting financial planners will help to better prioritize and create a financial plan for the district that will meet the needs of the children and teachers within our schools.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

 

More parental involvement is required. In the high schools, an increase of police presence. We need anonymous tip lines for crime and suspicious activities to be reported. I believe low/ no funding extracurricular after school programs will help with creating safe places for children of all ages to develop healthy communication skills. We also need to identify at risk children and youth. Those who come from homes of separated parents, have a history of abuse, poverty, those involved in bullying or identifying as a minority therefor may participate in drugs or criminal behavior to feel accepted. We need an ongoing log of children to record incidents and medical issues. It needs to be a communication program for families and educators

Sonia Andhi, Surrey Students NOW

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

Well:

The Board has not been engaged or proactive. Their lack of urgency in addressing several issues has been shocking. Recent example – ‘Wake Up Surrey’, a community based group that represents hundreds of South Asian parents wanted to send a delegation to the September Board meeting but were told that they could not be accommodated due to a full agenda. I attended that Board meeting and space could have been made for the delegation. Seeing how this group has been formed in response to the growing violence and deaths of South Asian teens, the Board should have made this a priority.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. Lack of safety and support in schools.
    • I will ensure that:
      • All students receive full classroom supports to reach their potential.
      • All students have access to positive space for conversations about diversity and acceptance.
      • After-school programs are available to keep kids active and free from gang recruitment.
  2. Overcrowding and portables.
    • I will:
      • hold the government to their promise to rid Surrey of portables.
      • set aside land for future schools.
      • expedite permits for schools
  3. Lack of funding.
    • I will:
      • determine and correct why Vancouver receives more student funding.
      • work with all levels of government to secure more funding

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • We have to reduce and aim to eventually eliminate portables from Surrey schools. One of the NDP government’s promise was to get rid of portables from Surrey schools. I will work with them to ensure that they fulfill their promise. I will also work with City Council to ensure that:
    • land is set aside for future schools.
    • permits for schools are expedited.
    • District participation takes place at City Council meetings.
    • the School Site Acquisition Charge is updated to continuously reflect market values.
    • city frontage and street improvements for schools are paid for by the City, not the District.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Absolutely. Schools have space and are ideal locations as they are centrally located in most
neighbourhoods. This is something that has been discussed in various community meetings that schools space should be accessible after hours in order to provide extracurricular activities to students.

I would work with the City council and community groups to create programs that are offered in schools after hours to engage more children. I would also propose that new secondary schools are built as community hubs with access to public libraries and recreation centres.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

I will ensure that children with special needs are offered all avenues of getting funding. Quite often, children are not identified and assessed in a timely manner. This results in delays in their getting supports and services. Sometimes families are not aware of the resources so I will propose creating a more streamlined way of assessing needs, supporting families and accessing funding. I will also collaborate more with MCFD, the Ministry of Children and Family Development to supplement funding for children with special needs.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

When children as young as 10 are being recruited into gangs and drugs are being sold in close proximity to schools, we know that issues of crime are tied to the education system. Our children deserve to be safe and secure. As a school trustee, I will be working with safe school liaison officers, teachers and counsellors to identify ‘at-risk’ students so that they can be supported through recreational activities, mentorship, and other positive influences. I will also work with the community to create a network of supports and programs to guide students away from negative influences.

Balraj Atwal

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

I still believe the Board of Education has not done much. The previously elected government announced many funds for schools. Yet did not meet up to the promised amounts. They did not communicate with the public and each other properly in the last 4 years. And overall, we still have a lack of educators.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

The 3 top issues Surrey has been dealing with for a long time now are Build new schools, remove portables, provide equal opportunities.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

We can go to the Ministry to raise the amount of funding because it is their job to help out and resolve issues. We can also create a resource which can help in collecting donations.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Yes, I would completely support the use of school facilities for extra curricular. We can run more after school programs involving sports and arts.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

We can set a fund according to the different types of disabilities these kids are dealing with.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

We can can start with educating students that these things are wrong and are harmful to them. A good idea would be to start a once a week course to implement this.

Jasvinder Singh Badesha

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

advocated provincial govt for portables issue.

Failed to introduce IB programs in additional Secondary Schools In Surrey.

Failed to co – ordinate with the city council regarding new developments, advocating provincial govt. for more funding.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

Safety — by advocating City Council and RCMP to provide frequent police patrolling services around all Surrey school areas and to provide a full time school Liaison Officer in every school.

Few AP & IB programs — advocate to add more AP subjects and add IB program in more Secondary schools in Surrey.

Portables — By advocating the City Council to allow development in the catchment of existing schools only when there are seats available.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

have meetings with local MLA’s, Ministry of education and provincial govt. to advocate for special funding for Surrey School Dist. to expedite the building extensions on existing schools and build new schools. also I will strongly remind BC Govt. to fulfil its promise made regarding portables in Surrey Schools.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities:  Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

yes, i support the use of school facilities for after hours for recreational programs. i will advocate to add more after hours programs for children living in the school catchments.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

advocate BC Govt to have a funding model review to add programs for students who struggle at school.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

I feel that most of the youth involved in drugs, gangs &violence have some kind of connection with their school life. if elected , as a school trustee I will advocate for full time school Liaison officers at every school in Surrey and advocate for frequent police patrolling in school areas.

Cindy Dalglish, Surrey Students NOW

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

Well:

Poorly: Surrey First Education do not support their resources (i.e. teachers, staff, etc.) which shows based on (for the first time) no endorsement by the Surrey Teachers Association. They are not fiscally responsible spending millions fighting families that advocate for their children’s human rights. They stay silent when they are to be advocates for our students – Vancouver receives $200 more funding than Surrey students ($14m!). They have 7000 seats waiting to be built but getting to construction is far too slow. Lack of lobbying to our municipal partners to get those schools built faster (2 meetings in 4 years is appalling.)

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  • Safe and supported schools:
    • build additional programming that keeps students from gang recruitment and drug activity.
    • expand community partnerships for use of our facilities after school.
    • attending PAC meetings.
    • working with community groups
  • Overcrowding and portables:
    • land is set aside for future schools.
    • permits for schools are expedited.
    • city frontage and street improvements for schools are paid for by the City
    • new secondary schools are built as community hubs with public libraries and recreation centres.
  • Funding:
    Work with the Province to:

    • rid Surrey of portables.
    • determine and correct why Vancouver receives more student funding.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • We will work with City Council to ensure:
    • land is set aside for future schools.
    • permits for schools are expedited.
    • District participation takes place at City Council meetings.
    • the School Site Acquisition Charge is updated to continuously reflect market values.
    • city frontage and street improvements for schools are paid for by the City, not the District.
    • Schools with asbestos requiring additions will be replaced.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities:  Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

We sure do! It’s in our platform. We want to expand community partnerships for use of our facilities after school. We will do this by liaising with the City and other community partners to bring in low-barrier and low/no cost activities. When we invest in our kids, we receive huge dividends later on. All Surrey kids matter.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

Rather than spending millions of dollars fighting our families like the Surrey First Education Trustees do, we will engage families and our union partners to meet the needs of all children. Our role is also to lobby our governments to ensure our students (ALL students) receive what they need for equitable access to a full education. When I hear current Trustees say, “we do the best for the most,” I am appalled. What if that was your child that didn’t fit into the “most?” We need our education assistants to receive full-time hours to support the District in recruitment and retention.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

When our schools are built, they are built with certain number of children in mind. When we exceed those numbers, we have that many more students competing for positive engagement through athletic teams, arts, and other extra-curricular programming. We need those schools built. We need to expand those community partnerships and work with grassroots organizations that want to be part of positive change. We need more counsellors for mental health supports. We need more safe school liaison programs starting younger. We can break the cycle with support for our youth. We need to invest in our students, because Surrey kids matter.

Sukhy Dhillon

No responses received.

Rina Diaz, Proudly Surrey

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

They balanced their budget and complied with provincial government requirements.

They promised to be more active both in parent consultation and advocating for our stakeholders and failed in both areas. They have also continued to neglect our aging schools by not addressing much needed maintenance or doing something about the lead in our children’s water.

If elected I will be more active by actually visiting our schools and engaging more with our PACs, immediately start changing all old water fountains and start negotiations with federal government to fund the removal of asbestos in our aging schools.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. Overcrowding
  2. Not enough EA hours
  3. Aging schools
  1. The district is required to provide the provincial government with an amount to be able to request for a new school, I will work with the city to make city responsible for these funds to get new schools approved faster.
  2. Immediately start negotiations for more hours to be approved, no more excuses.
  3. Immediately have all old water fountains replaced, more than two years is too long to have waited for this to be taken care of.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

This matter is a serious discussion that needs to happen with the provincial government to have funds for portables come from capital budget and not from the operating budget as this takes away from our children.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Proudly Surrey’s platform foundation is exactly this, having the city use the schools for more city operated after school programs to cater to these types of families that can’t get out to the recreation centres. The city would pay a user fee to district and those fees would be put towards the required amount to get new schools approved.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

Advocating nonstop until the provincial government has no other option than to agree to increase the budget to allow more hours as well as pay increases for our support staff.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

A program that is integrated into every school not just some, geared to educating our students about the consequences of wrong choices. Provide various after school programs to provide them with a better choice. A mentoring program to influence our students in positive ways.

Charlene Dobie, Surrey Students NOW

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

It may or may not be widely known but there is information on the district website that states the role of the Surrey Board of Education. There are 12 points and in my estimation this Board has fulfilled less than half of these obligations. Specifically, they have not advocated for public education, they have not lobbied municipal and provincial governments on education issues of importance to the school district and its communities, represented the school board and school district in the community nor have they communicated with and sought input from parents, staff and the community-at-large about school board decisions and activities.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

Safety and Support- Surrey schools need to be a safe place where positive conversations about diversity and acceptance are the norm, where students get the full support they need and students are educated on negative influences such as gangs and drugs.

Funding-.I will hold the current provincial government to account on their promise to rid Surrey of portables and I will also determine and correct why Vancouver students receive more per pupil funding.

Overcrowding and Portables-I will do my job as a trustee and work hard lobbying and collaborating with the Mayor, Council, Minister of Education and Surrey MLAs to get Surrey students more schools because Surrey kids matter.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • The overcrowding of Surrey schools and extensive use of portables has gone on too long. We currently have students who do not have access to libraries, gyms or playgrounds because the school population far exceeds the initial building size.Surrey Students NOW will reduce the use of portables in SD#36 by:
    • Holding the government to account on their promise to rid Surrey of portables.
    • Working with the city to set aside land for future schools.
    • Working with the city to expedite permits for the construction of schools.
    • Having a concrete, comprehensive, strategic plan moving forward.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities:  Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

I definitely support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs. Schools are public buildings and need to be used as much as possible without disrupting the day to day school operations. Currently the school district does organize after-school programs through their Community Schools Partnership Program. These are great programs that serve the needs of students in certain areas of Surrey. The school district works with many partners through these programs but they need to bring on more partners so the programs can be expanded. All Surrey students should have the opportunity to join after-school programs because Surrey kids matter.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

As an Education Assistant in the public school system for twenty years, I know we need more funding for children with special needs. Students with special needs need to be receiving full support. We need to work closely with families so all students can reach their full potential. Right now Surrey receives $200 less per student than Vancouver students. That equates to $14 million. We will determine and correct why this is happening. I will do my job and lobby the Ministry of Education for more funding so that all Surrey students have the opportunity to become contributing members of society.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

The Surrey School District can be and should be a place where students are safe from crime, drugs, gangs and violence. The school district needs to play a part in educating students about these negative influences. We need to be working closely with educators and community partners who understand these issues. Right now we have Safe School Liaisons in our high schools. If students as young as ten years old are being recruited into gangs then we need to consider this model of prevention in elementary schools as well. We need a city-wide, pro-active, multi-faceted approach and model. The school district needs to work with the City, all stakeholders, families and students to make Surrey a safe place for everyone, Surrey kids matter.

Kapil Goyal, Proudly Surrey

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

The best thing that they did is balanced the budget

But they were worst in engaging the parents in their decisions. Transparency was not there.

The older schools still have Asbestos in the schools that is very bad for the health of the kids

If I got elected , I will make sure our older schools get fully upgraded & we will make sure parents have important participation in all the important decisions that board will take

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. We need to hire more teachers & assistant for the special need children
  2. We are in the favour that all the students have full access of all the schools after hours for their recreational purposes
  3. We need to make sure all the older schools get asbestos & LED free

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

Our main focus is to open a Community schools , so that we can get the funding from the local government & provincial government . We also need to put forward a strong infrastructure plan in front of the provincial government & local government so that schools board get enough funding to rid of these portables.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Definitely, this is our main focus. We want to give access to all kids for all the schools for their recreational purposes after school hours

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

The first thing I will do if I got elected , I will make sure all the schools have proper equipment & resources that will help the special needs students

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

If kids are using the schools facilities after school hours they will focus more on physical activities & other programs so that they can also stay away from the drugs & gang violence.

We also work with the our councillors at city so that we have enough policing during the lunch break & school hours , so that kids are safe & will not get in touch with the people who are involved in the wrong activities

Gordon Hepner

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

The board had secured good allocation of funds for two schools Bear Creek Elementary and Mary Jane Shannon Elementary. It is a good start to renovate existing schools.

I do not believe the board had adequately predicted the link to infrastructure, development and overcrowding at Surrey Schools; hence the advocacy at both the provincial level for funding and the City level of communication. The City should have more accurate data from the school board on the growth of the student population as per development.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. the capital infrastructure that is required as a result of growth and a robust plan for portable reduction;
    • Provincial advocacy, city revenue from local development cost charges, and petition the province to review of the mill rate for school taxation, currently homes valued at greater than 3 million have a greater tax, to encompass homes valued at over 1.65 million, this will match the H.O.G. exemption.
  2. educational assistants, mental and guidance counsellors that can be assigned within an
    agreed formula of need;

    • The minister allocating more aides for students.
  3. funding parity with Vancouver students
    • An equalization formula prepared for the minister as per S. 110(2) S.A.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

A formula for the additional spaces presented to the minister for a systematic reduction, starting with the schools that have the more significant numbers; then government advocacy for a well funded plan for the catch-up construction necessary as well as a more closely aligned working relationship with the City of Surrey to develop a strategy for construction readiness as development is completed. A complete community strategy.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities
after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

I coached lacrosse at the school gym (after school hours) as a volunteer. These are important and critical hours that would be well served with positive activities. A joint school/city partnership should be reviewed and advanced. Many activities could be coordinated with minor sports clubs/teams, and City program development.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

Establishing close ties with the provincial government and the City will help allocate more funding to educational assistants and special needs students. Moreover, examine the possibility of peer to peer aides for advanced tutoring in complex academics or special needs student’s assistance.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

Afterschool activities and school participation should be part of every school, and a community hub for youth. The students are the future, and all should feel comfortable and safe at the school; community involvement, including outside sources, like minor sports teams, academics, and clubs, should be involved to attract the students to the community hub, that will alleviate chance to become involved in at risk behaviour.

Martin Hilmer

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

It has sought to implement new curriculum changes as directed by the Ministry of Education in a timely manner.

It has failed to address the question of unchecked housing development. Development is out pacing available student spaces. Portables are a Band-Aid solution. This has also directly impacted classroom size.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  • Unchecked use of portables to compensate for growing student populations
    • The school district must become a central agency in the city’s housing development application process. It must be allowed to provide its recommendation on all residential applications to match growth with available student spaces.
  • Continued growth in class sizes.
    • The school district needs to lobby the provincial government to develop a new funding formula for regions experiencing rapid population growth. These can then be employed to hire more teachers while maintaining smaller class sizes.
  • Safe school environments.
    • The district needs to continue to expand its vision of providing students with a safe environment free from bullying and harassment.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

All housing development applications must first be funneled through the school district who would be allowed to provide city staff and council with a recommendation based on the applications impact on existing available student spaces. Development cost charges must then also include a surcharge devoted to school construction in new regions. These funds need to be coupled with provincial funding for new school construction. School construction in any region deemed to be extensive should take place prior to residential construction.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Yes. The current system of renting school facilities for after hours use must be maintained. Groups such as girl guides, scouts and cadets rely heavily on the use of district facilities such as gymnasiums. Indeed perhaps the district may wish to implement a two tier cost system. One for non-profit youth groups and another for other users.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

The district should lobby the province to provide a strategy that addresses special needs funding through a cooperative venture between the school district and regional health authorities. Regional health authorities should be responsible to assist school districts in providing resources and subsequent funding.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools

Unfortunately such activities can be found in schools due to large student populations, a lack of after school activities and a failure in communications to address these problems. Communication with students (especially at the younger grades) and parents is critical. Students need to know that there are alternatives. Our schools also need physical barriers such as secure fencing and no drug zones around each school.

Bob Holmes, Surrey First Education

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

I believe that we have done an excellent job balancing our budget without having to make any cuts, opening a capital project office and obtaining funding for 7,300 new seats, building community partnerships, achieving record student completion rates, and engaging the community for their input when faced with difficult decisions.

School boards can always improve. While we have made good progress on capital recently, we need to do more. Our community and partner group engagement process has improved, but we need to continue evolving as our community’s communications needs change with new technology and community diversity.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. Living in a growing city – addressing our capital shortage, moving our students from portables to classrooms. Answered in the next question.
  2. Inclusiveness and safety – ensuring our schools embrace diversity and provide safe and caring learning environments for ALL students, as well as teachers and support staff. There is no final resolution for this, as the need will be ever-growing and changing. Welcome Centre, WRAP program, SOGI are just a few examples of great work to support this.
  3. Community involvement – engaging and including our community strengthens our schools. Discussed in the previous question.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

We have requested a meeting with the Minister of Education to discuss the government’s commitment to the elimination of portables in Surrey and how we can establish an interim plan to reduce our reliance on portables by 50% within five years. This is in addition to the communication and advocacy that is constantly ongoing.

With a new funding formula being released in the spring, we’ll be watching to see if the continuing impact of portables on our operating budget is addressed, and advocate for this if it is not.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Absolutely, yes. We have multiple strong community partnerships and continue to deepen and strengthen these partnerships which often focus on supports for our inner-city schools and our most vulnerable children, allowing us to do things such as provide breakfast and lunch programs to children, serving close to 500,000 breakfasts and lunches to our children in the past year.

We also continually expand our use of schools as public and community space. This past year, we signed over 1,500 agreements with our community so that our schools not only serve our children through the day, but the community at other times.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

Our district currently spends more than double what we are allotted for special needs – and we aren’t alone in this. Despite that level of spending, which impacts what we can spend elsewhere, we still want to do more. The provincial government is currently reviewing the provincial funding formula, and we have spoken loudly about our needs. Once the new formula is released in the spring, our future advocacy will be shaped by how they address the issue. We are also seeking an understanding with CUPE 728 around better continuity for special needs students.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

I believe our schools are providing safe and welcoming learning and teaching environments for our students and staff, but we must always be vigilant to ensure that remains the case. Safe Schools offers several great programs aimed at helping students make better choices, including First Step, the Wrap Program, and Substance Abuse and Youth Diversity Liaisons, as well as Code Blue & Mini Blue, Yo Bro/Yo Girl, and many other programs in conjunction with the City of Surrey, RCMP, and other community partners. I support the continuation and growth of these programs, and the addition of more where possible.

Aronjit Lageri, ACT Now Surrey

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

Board has failed to collaborate between all three levels of government and arrange more funding for our school district. Board has not addressed why Surrey is undercut $200 less per student when compared to Vancouver.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

I do not see any above average achievement of this particular board and trustees. They have failed on funding, collaboration and community involvement at all levels.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

Our population has continued growth, in the last few years. Similar increase in school infrastructure has not happened. Board has not come up with any concrete plan for the 333 portables with $517 million expanse for the next 5 years, being utilized in a way so as a school building can be planned in the future.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

After school programs is severely underutilized area and is a concern for me. It negatively impacts kids and their wellbeing. I will encourage the use of school building and enroll kids in the school sponsored sports activity for the more affordable usage of the medium earner families.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

Once again a failure of the current school trustee and board to successfully present a case in front of the all levels of government and garner more funds and support, for these much needed programs.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

I have advocated strongly about this issue in my interviews and discussion. Safety and security of the students in and around the schools is of paramount importance to me. We have discussed for a model whereby police surveillance will be increased in and around the school areas to cultivate a sense of safety. Further a collaboration between community, school and police must be formed so as to address these issues, because I truly believe if the foundation is week i.e. schools than the system is going to fail no matter what we do.

Laurie Larsen, Surrey First Education

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

This term the School Board has continued to lobby the Ministry of Education, local MLAs and MPs. We have many community partners that we have consulted with as well as a Employee groups. We have meant with Mayor and Council many times to discuss site acquisition, NCPs, advancement of building permits as well as liaison meetings for general discussions.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

Having been on the Board for ten years all the concerns are centred around funding. Site acquisition, additions, new schools, costs of portables are all driven by the amount of funding available . New technology, science labs, School gym equipment ,playground upgrades etc., are all under the funding umbrella. Surrey’s share of funding needs to be increased for students to receive their fair and equitable funding for education

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

The cost of portables needs to be funded separately and not from the operating budget. This drains money that should be spent in the classroom. The money Surrey has had to spend on purchasing, relocations, installing and/or moving portables should have gone to the buildings of new schools.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

The School District and the City can certainly work together more to develop after school programs for children. Having the space only addresses one aspect of this . Funding for instructors, materials , opening and closing of schools, cleanup afterwards and adequate supervision has to be addressed as well. We all want our children to have a safe well run after school program that they can enjoy and thrive in. Bringing in youth groups, the community , YMCA, and the City on board with the schools would be a way to start.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

This again relates to funding . It needs to be increased to address the needs of all children. Many students do not have a designation but need the extra support. The funding formula for children with special needs , needs to be reformulated to cover all the students that fall into the “grey “ area. By increasing the per capital formula to include all students who need extra support would then give students with Special needs the extra support they need as well.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

The school is the secondary education piece to this issue. Parents need to be involved . In primary grades students need to feel that school is a safe and welcoming place. Students need to have activities outside the school that keep them involved . Parents need to actively be a part of their child’s lives. Having role models come to the classes to talk to students, more like the Champion programs we have now, give them support when they need it and someone they can identify with. Schools, communities,RCMP, Parks and Rec all need to share the role of students seeing and working with positive influences.

Dean McGee, Proudly Surrey

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

  • The current Board has not been standing up for Surrey. We need a voice for the largest school district in the province.
  • Even the proposed new school construction plans fall behind population projections.
  • The current Board doesn’t meet with the current city council, and there needs to be co-operation between the levels of government.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  • Lack of special education assistants and specialist teachers.
  • Portables have become a permanent fixture because school construction is so far behind population growth.
  • Kids are waiting too long for assessments and Individual Education Plans; assessment backlogs need to be cleared.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • Portables don’t belong in the Operating Budget. The extra expenses of 350 portables is weighing on our district, because the money hasn’t been spent building schools in Surrey.
  • As well as lobbying the Provincial Government for funding, we need to get the City to participate in the construction of community schools and in paying for land acquisitions for new school properties.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

  • New Schools need to be Community Schools, with spaces for community groups after school. The City and School Board have to work together to create programs.
  • Community Schools need to have various sized spaces available for outside groups.
  • Community centres and recreation programs need to be free for Surrey children.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

  • As well as special education teachers and special education assistants, we need support staff like secretaries to work with integration teachers so they can spend more time with the kids.
  • Add more special education assistant spots in Surrey College’s program, so we train our own people.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

  • WRAP program needs more spots because there is a waiting list just to get in.
  • Community Schools and afterschool programs will give kids positive places to go and an opportunity to belong to something.

Jasbir Narwal

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

Board failed almost on all fronts and they failed to their first job.

They failed to connect with the community and in doing advocacy of parents ,staff and children before the province.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

1- Drugs and Gun violence. 2- portables 3- over crowding.

By doing Right planning and right advocacy.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

Putting focus on getting more funds from the province by doing right kind of advocacy.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Yes. Special policy will be prepared and implemented.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

By doing right advocacy for their needs.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

New policy will be prepared and implemented.

Diana Ng, Proudly Surrey

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

  • The current Board has not been standing up for Surrey. We need a voice for the largest school district in the province.
  • Even the proposed new school construction plans fall behind population projections.
  • The current Board doesn’t meet with the current city council, and there needs to be co-operation between the levels of government.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  • Lack of special education assistants and specialist teachers.
  • Portables have become a permanent fixture because school construction is so far behind population growth.
  • Kids are waiting too long for assessments and Individual Education Plans; assessment backlogs need to be cleared.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • Portables don’t belong in the Operating Budget. The extra expenses of 350 portables is weighing on our district, because the money hasn’t been spent building schools in Surrey.
  • As well as lobbying the Provincial Government for funding, we need to get the City to participate in the construction of community schools and in paying for land acquisitions for new school properties.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

  • New Schools need to be Community Schools, with spaces for community groups after school. The City and School Board have to work together to create programs.
  • Community Schools need to have various sized spaces available for outside groups.
  • Community centres and recreation programs need to be free for Surrey children.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

  • As well as special education teachers and special education assistants, we need support staff like secretaries to work with integration teachers so they can spend more time with the kids.
  • Add more special education assistant spots in Surrey College’s program, so we train our own people.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

  • WRAP program needs more spots because there is a waiting list just to get in.
  • Community Schools and afterschool programs will give kids positive places to go and an opportunity to belong to something.

Niovi Patsicakis, ACT Now Surrey

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

Use of Place Speak and Community forums ok. Law ignored, 273 non enrolling teachers missing. Increase Gifted and French programs- no wait lists. Ensure books and resources are in every classroom. Advocate for more funding, listen to teaching concerns.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

Funding for Schools, Staff and Students.
Non enrolling Teachers and EAs- Hire more and well trained.
Special Education and Mental Health; early identification and programs.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

Ask government to pay for them not from operating and keep building new schools to keep up with development. Charge developers more to cover infrastructure costs.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Yes, ask for programs in sports, art, music, science and culture from city, the community, non-profit institutions. ALSO, students need choices DURING school; all aspects of learning and fostering the talents. No charges for school use.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

Push government to increase funding and maintain categories but include students with ADHD. Ask federal to fully cover costs related to Autism. It’s pay now or as families/society pay later; tragic outcomes/institutionalized adults. Put new model on hold/trial for 2 years after it is seen.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

Address the needs of students, with behaviour/social emotional difficulties, early. Increased services at school, involve more non-profit organizations. Ensure the WRAP is efficient. Leadership programs as in LA Matheson’s Mustang and bring a Surrey “Foundry” centre (youth) to addresses addiction, depression housing and employment needs. Cameras in main entrances no other open doors.

Julia Poole

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

They have managed the fiscal budget well and kept our district out of debt. I think the 5 year capital budget proposal is excellent and very progressive.

However, the projected costs of expansions and building of schools is almost $1B with the current provincial contributions at $65M. Securing more funding from the Provincial government to be able to achieve our proposed 5 yr. plan is critical. I would like to change the per student funding to equal that of other districts as well. We currently are funded $200 less per student than Vancouver. I would like to know why this is the case and change this.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. Currently, we are only allowed to build to the current capacity in a new school development. We need to change this way of thinking and planning to be able to build past capacity for all new projects and project into the future in collaboration with city planners and economic developers
  2. Retaining our well-qualified teachers and recruiting additional staffing by aligning wages to scale with the rest of the country.
  3. Along with teacher shortages comes the lack of support-staff shortages and we must ensure that students are provided with the support they need.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

I think I have addressed this in my earlier comments that we need more money from the government.

Portables are a temporary solution and although more affordable than building, it is coming out of our operating budget and not our capital funding from Prov. Government. Once again, we need to emphasize to the provincial government that we are not able to keep abreast of our needs. We have been playing catch up for the many years I have been teaching in this district and we need to make Education a priority in this province and give more tax dollars towards it.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Schools are being used to capacity by outside groups. Often these groups are private organizations that have fees that cannot be subsidized by the City. Parks and Rec. offer afterschool programs but they are not able to get into schools due to outside group rentals.

Recreation centers are not within walking distance from schools and children although they are able to be subsidized to take buses to attend the P&R programs, space is an issue here as well. I would like to look at alternate spaces that would be available in the community for example, churches within walking distance of the schools. There could possibly be a partnership developed with community groups and reasonable rental spaces secured for afterschool programs.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

We have a very diverse student population in Surrey and the allocation to provide these programs is not a good model at present. Many students are not getting the support they need with the existing allocation of hours versus support teacher. The District is given funding per student with special needs but often these funds are attached to special designation rather than the district having the complete freedom to use the funds as they see necessary. I see this as a huge problem. We are often required to make proposals to secure special grants and additional funding to meet these needs.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

We need to take responsibility for these problems as a community. “It takes a village to raise a child” and the more community involvement and access to all members of the community in our schools would benefit everyone. Not just involving parents of children in our schools but seniors and members of the community without children in the system. So the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, etc. all stems from citizenship and taking responsibility for each other in the community. Children and youth need to know that everyone has their best interest at heart. We can insure safety and security through more personnel but teaching character and morals will go a long way beyond our physical addressing of the problems.

Dupinder Kaur Saran, ACT Now Surrey

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

The board of director’s has shown solidarity amongst themselves, as a team. What the board has done poorly is that they have not collaborated or communicated well with the community (parents, teachers, students) about their concerns, or visited schools to see the core issues. Also, only holding 2 meetings with council over the last term, which is a poor way to manage or properly address issues. There was a lack of transparency shown overall, which frustrated many parents, and teachers in the community.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  • Three top issues today are:
    • Mental, Physical and Emotional Health of our children in the schools.
      I am a registered nurse by profession over the last 20 years, I have the ability to help parents, teachers, students where they need the assistance or guidance when it comes to these concerns, I would use additional resources available in the community to assist where needed as well, for example, the use of qualified non-profit organizations where funding lacks for resources.
    • Hiring more learning disability teachers and adding additional hours for educational assistants. – self-explanatory.
    • Increased funds for the #2 here and to help to try and reduce the number of portables in the city. I would rather create pod schools where needed.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

Portables are a huge issue as they are unhealthy environments for our children. I feel pod like schools are more suitable if the budgeting for the more schools is not possible. It still serves as a small school like environment, healthier and more convenient. The portables must go, in order for us to have a long term sustainable solution, healthier environment, and still be able to manage the population growth.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Yes, of course I support the use of schools facilities for after hours recreational programs. I plan to help create after-school programs by having older youth who are leaders and require volunteer hours as well as have expertise or skills in certain recreational programs to help out in creating these programs as well as volunteer to implement them. That way there is more youth involvement, as well as get parents involved when and if possible for more engagement in the schools.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

Our children with special needs require extra assistance by hiring more learning disability teachers and more hours for educational assistants, as well as special behaviour teams when needed. This is priority and must be one of the top issues to secure funding for. It must be presented at all levels of government as a concern and something should be addressed so that additional funding is provided. A step by step approach will be taken to ensure that funds are provided for such.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

Issue of drugs, gangs, violence in Surrey ties into the education system, because every child comes from a different background or circumstance. I feel it is the responsibility of not only parents, and teachers but the overall school system to catch on to what the child may be facing, whether it is mental or emotional health, bullying, harassment or a disconnect with parents or other concerns. Early prevention of such concerns, along with re-assessment in teen years, and more recreational activities/programs will help keep our youth away from such incidents. Along with more supervision on our grounds.

Garry Thind, Surrey First Education

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

  • We have secured 7320 new seats for Surrey Schools, as well as two seismic projects.
  • Created a Capital Project Office, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education that allows us to more efficiently obtain funding and build new schools and additions.
  • Achieved a six year student completion rate of 90.3%.
  • Increased our six years Indigenous and special needs student completion rates by 12.4% & 15.4% resp.
  • Strong and positive relationships with our Aboriginal communities.
  • Things to improve:
    • We have been largely unsuccessful in our continuous advocacy to NOT have any district contribution from within operating budgets to make sure we get capital projects.
    • We have advocated very strongly and consistently, but there has been no change in provincial direction.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  1. Adequate and responsive funding to build new schools.
  2. Adequate funding for children with special needs – particularly children with autism.
  3. Increased collaboration with the City of Surrey on property available for schools as the city rapidly develops.
  • What to do:
  1. Continue to push for an adequate and responsive capital budget with no contribution from the district from our operating budget.
  2. Continue to ask for adequate funding for students with Autism.
  3. Liaise and partner directly with the City on long range NCP development to make sure that adequate school property is set aside in the locations that make sense. Also, work to acquire these properties early in the stages of development.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • Tell the government to please stop forcing us to take operating dollars to support capital projects. This is neither fair nor equitable to our surrounding districts that are fully funded for seismic programs yet we must give at the very minimum 20% of our operating budget to capital to make sure we get schools.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

  • Yes. We work collaboratively with the city and last year we processed over 1500 individual agreements to provide services outside the school day and many of these agreements included multiple events and opportunities. In some cases, a single agreement had hundreds of after school sessions.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

  • Continue to show the ministry the lack of adequate funding and our data which shows that we put $2 into special education for every $1 we receive.
  • Continue to work alongside CUPE to make sure we can bargain better conditions for workers and to show to the ministry the need for more funding to support our students.
  • We also will advocate for additional funding for training of staff so that not only do we have the people, but we have them adequately prepared.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

  • This is a whole – community issue and there needs to be a coordinated response. It is families, the city, the police and our community at large. The issues of gangs and violence spread from the top and flows down to our children. We need to get to the source of the issue which is organized drug trafficking and we need to find these criminals, charge them and deal with them.
  • In our schools – we will continue to work directly with children and youth to make sure that they are aware, that they make healthy choices, but they need to know that the adults in the entire community are on their side and trying to address the larger issues.

Gary Tymoschuk, Surrey First Education

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

  • The board has managed the funds it gets very well; we have successfully worked with 2 different provincial governments to get 7,300 new and expansion spaces for students and we have achieved improved student success rates – currently over 90% – a best for Surrey Schools and 6.6% above the provincial average.I don’t think the board has done anything poorly, however we can always strive for improvement. The area to continue our focus would be funding – both operating for day to day school-based operations as well as capital funds for even more new and expansion schools.

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  • More schools
  • More operating funds
  • Improving student success
  • Continue with our drive to get more funding through a continuation of the relationship building with the provincial government with all Surrey MLA’s as well as directly with the Minister of Education. As for student success, continue to establish policies that will allow for student learning in a safe, caring and inclusive environment and working with senior staff to ensure student success objectives are achieved.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • As this board has done during this term, continue to liaise with and lobby the provincial government at every possible opportunity to seek construction funds for new and expansion schools and until they are achieved, to continue to request funds to cover the cost of maintaining the portables.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

  • Since there is only 1 taxpayer, yet many different levels of government, we must find ways to partner when it comes to community services and facilities. I promoted this during my terms on Surrey’s Library board and Surrey’s Parks & Recreation Commission. I still believe this. So yes, I support the continued use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs and would advocate for this. It must be noted that this already happens to some degree – but we need to find ways to enhance it.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

  • Our district presently spends $2 on special needs services for every $1 we receive from the provincial government. We also employ some of the best staff in BC in the delivery of special needs education. Clearly, we are vested in helping these students. We can always use more money and we will continue to lobby for more from the provincial government at every opportunity in our liaison meetings with MLA’s and meetings with the Minister and Ministry staff.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

  • We already have one of the most sophisticated gang and violence prevention programs in Canada working in partnership with the Federal Government, the Provincial Government, the City of Surrey and the RCMP. The Wraparound (WRAP) program is designed to positively connect youth to their school, home and community by building trusting relationships. We have expanded our Safe Schools departments over the past 4 years. I strongly support the WRAP program and all of the initiatives currently in place to address youth crime & violence and will continue to lobby for more funds to be targeted to these initiatives.

Mary-Em Waddington, Surrey Students NOW

School board’s performance:  In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

  • Trustee McNally’s motion (unanimously approved) to curb development was demonstration of her leadership and commitment to addressing overcrowding and portables.The board has been silent on many issues including the road through Hjorth Road elementary; meeting with City Council to address the correlation between development without infrastructures including schools.
  • Things I would change:
    • Meeting with Council at minimum of twice per year,
    • making the trustee board packages available to the public 72 hours prior to the meeting,
    • having questions posed to Trustees at public meetings should be part of the record and answered at the next meeting

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

The Surrey Students NOW platform is available at www.SurreyStudentsNOW.com/our-platform and is based on three pillars.

Overcrowding & Portables – meet with City Council to address site acquisition charge for future projects, assess the tax structure; and permitting issues to get schools built faster/

Funding – advocate to the Ministry of Education and Treasury Board for more funds to address Surrey’s growth trajectory; have a strong voice at BCPSEA table

Safe & Supported students and schools – work with staff to create schools as community hubs and increase access to sport, music and arts programing to keep kids engaged and away from gang recruitment.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

Securing new capital funding is an integral part of our “funding” pillar.

Trustees need to hold the government to account on their shared goal to get rid of portables; Surrey needs more capital announcements than just in election years.

We also need to work with the City to promote development of school infrastructure including better use of site acquisition funds, reducing the frontage costs on schools, and look at restructuring school taxes to better incorporate the use of secondary suites.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

Community access hubs are a part of our “safe and supported” pillar.

Creating community hubs is work to be done in partnership with the City to help fund, resource and staff. Having afterschool access to sport, arts and music programs afterschool is not to add further work to teacher’s schedule. Increasing access to after school care is another way of creating safe space at school and supports Surrey families.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

This is part of our safe and supported pillar.

Trustees need to better engage with families, union partners, and the provincial government to ensure there are adequate supports available to meet the needs of all children. When we are successful in reducing the number of portables, there will be more operations money in the budget for students with special needs. This is chronically unfair to Surrey students and needs to be addressed with the Minister.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

This is part of our safe & supported pillar and directly ties to portables & overcrowding.

Public schools are to be the equalizer to give everyone the same education. When schools are overcrowded, kids lose the ability to participate in extracurricular activities, their sense of community and then may not make good choices.

We need to expand community partnerships and work with grassroots organizations to create positive change for youth. This means better access to counsellors for mental health supports, RCMP school liaison programs for elementary students. We need to invest in our students, because Surrey kids matter.

Adele Yu

School board’s performance: In your view, what has the board of education done well over the last four years? What has the board done poorly that you would change?

Achievements:

  • Increasing of completion rate
  • Operation quality is not compromised because of limited budget
  • Introduced cutting edge high tech tools to keep whole school society resourceful

Areas to be improved:

  • Communication

Issues & concerns: What do you think are the three top issues affecting Surrey Schools today? How will you resolve these issues?

  • SOGI 123, I shall remove this from classrooms.
  • Lack of funding to many needs.
  • BC provincial exams was downsized to English 12, find a way to ensure Surrey students’ keep same competitiveness when they apply for universities.

Capital funding and insufficient infrastructure: How will you approach the issue of portables as it relates to the lack of adequate school spaces and the impact they have on the operating budget?

  • We need a balanced enrollment. That requires efficient communication between the planning departments of district and city.
  • Provoke for surrey educational needs, asking for money.

Involving the kids/youth in positive constructive activities: Not all parents are able to enroll their children in activities outside of school. In order to provide all children with equal opportunities for extracurricular activities, do you support the use of school facilities after hours for recreational programs? If so, how would you plan to implement this?

I will need more details/background about this topic. There’s a need and I’m wondering if use of school facilities will mostly efficient to fulfill the need.

Focus on special needs: What is your plan or unique approach to secure a better funding model for children with special needs?

I will need more details before answer.

Impact of crime, drugs, gangs, violence: How do you feel that the issue of crime, drugs, gangs, and violence in Surrey ties into the education system? What steps would you take as a school board trustee for the safety and security of both elementary and secondary schools?

  • No tolerance of the invasion of crime, drugs, gangs and violence.
  • Work closer with RCMP, families for collaborations.