Flexible schedule means inconvenience for parents and students

Flexible Schedule

December 15, 2010

For immediate Release

Flexible schedule means inconvenience for parents and students

 

The provincial government has not kept up with growth in Surrey. No new schools have been planned while Surrey continues to receive more than a thousand new students each year. The district has 232 portables currently in use and this number will increase in the next few years. At the December 9th, 2010 Board of Education meeting, in response to these space concerns, trustees voted to support a report recommending flexible school scheduling and extended days at secondary schools.

However, flexible schedules will not solve the problem and in the past have not been well received by parents or students. “I expect when parents have the chance to express their views about this plan, the District will find that it is overwhelmingly unpopular,” said Denise Moffatt, President of the Surrey Teachers’ Association.

Educating students in shifts, creating extended breaks during the day, forcing students into on-line classes and scheduling classes during the early morning and lunch hours will all have a negative effect on the school community. “I see a lot of potential problems including attendance issues, an impact on extracurricular activities, and the loss of an optimum learning environment,” said Moffatt. “Another issue will be the impact on family and childcare for parents, as well as our members.”

Certainly the district is facing space challenges. However, many of these challenges were foreseeable and were either created by or not addressed by the current government. Changes to Ministry policy allowing cross boundary transfers has created space constraints at some schools. Community school initiatives and choice programs put further pressure on limited classroom space.

Failing to build new schools in neighbourhoods that are undergoing rapid growth has been another problem. A shovel ready addition to Fraser Heights Secondary has not been approved despite more than a dozen portables on site.  Meanwhile, the government has continued to fund capital projects in other areas such as a new roof on BC Place and a Convention Centre. “It really makes you question their priorities,” said Moffatt.

Portables provide a temporary solution, but districts are required to purchase new portable classrooms out of their operating budget, resulting in cuts to service.  “We are asked to do more with less,” said Moffatt.

“These changes being contemplated by the Surrey Board of Education are just another example of how systemic underfunding and ineffective government policy is negatively affecting Surrey students,” said Moffatt.

For more information please contact Denise Moffatt, President of the Surrey Teachers’ Association at 604-594-5353.

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Wednesday, December 15th, 2010. Filed in Category: News Releases

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