Hazelgrove Elementary Overcrowding Solution

On April 6th the staff and parents of Hazelgrove Elementary came together “to take action and alleviate the overcrowding” at our school.

Here is a little history about our school.  When we first moved into the neighbourhood in 2003, phase one of the new subdivision, the elementary school was approved for it’s current location.  We were told that it would be built and opened by 2007.  As we did not have any children then, we were not taking any particular notice.

In 2005 Jackson was born but the school had still not been built but there was a zoning size staking a claim on the property, that it was to be built there soon.  By that time, there had been at least 3 more phases to our subdivision with more construction than we could have possibly predicted.

Then in 2007, Easton came into our world but the elementary school did not.  More townhomes were built, more houses were built, condos were also built, more large lots and old houses were sold for development.  We started to sweat.

By late 2007 or was it early 2008?! I can’t remember but that is when we  actually saw them working on clearing the property for the school.  In 2009, the school was built.  It also contained portables on the grounds.

Hazelgrove Elementary opened it’s doors in 2009-2010 school year, without a playground as well.  Luckily, the PAC and families of the area worked hard to raise funds for a playground that Jackson gets to enjoy.  Now we just need another one.

As Hazelgrove opened, East Clayton closed.  East Clayton had some septic concerns that needed to be addressed, so it was slated to be closed for repairs.  That left the Clayton Elementary on 184th  and Hazelgrove to handle the growing school population. Yes, I know there is also Latimer and Hillcrest but have you looked at the in-catchment map?

I do not know how many students attended the first school year of 2009-2010, but I do know that our attendance at Hazelgrove is in the upwards of 716 students when the school is capable of holding 600, this 2010-2011 year.  I do know our total number of portables is ten, costing us 100,000.00 for each portable.  That’s right, a million dollars will get you ten portables, with no bathrooms.  There is also an outdoor washroom attached, but I do believe it is still not a working washroom as of yet.

The new addition was approved for an added four classrooms, which seems great until you do the math.  Ten minus four equals……six.  Obviously, with the continued growth in the area and the bounty of baby strollers, something needed to be done.

Hence the Prinicipal, faculty, and families of Hazelgrove students came together, over 200 people attended.  Faculty & families broke up into groups to brainstorm issues, address issues, raise questions, and make notes. The decision was made with all the information gathered.

“After considering information provided by staff and parents a decision has been made to use the former East Clayton Elementary site as a Kindergarten Annex to Hazelgrove Elementary.  All kindergarten classes for the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 school years will be located at the Hazelgrove Annex.” Mike Hurt Principal of Hazelgrove Elementary.

You can read the about the decision to use East Clayton Elementary for a Kindergarten Annex HERE.

The April 6th meeting notes are located HERE.

Answers to questions raised at the meeting our FAQ can be located HERE.

In my opinion, this was the best decision.  I will definitely be affected as Easty will be in the 2012-2013 year at the Annex.  I think I would rather have her there with other children her age, that way she can go out and play at recess (full-days starting in 2011-2012) and have room to play with her peers.  I think it is sad that she will not be with her brother, especially her first year but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.  She does go to preschool at another school, so really, what is the difference.  I can live with the staggered start time.  I question that this is a solution that will last only a couple of years.

Seriously. City of Surrey. Ministry of Education.  What is the formula for determining school placement and school size?

Dear City of Surrey, you must know how many building permits and property taxes that need to go out and that are collected, right?  You approved all the new business licences and surely must notice the sheer number of them.  You must see the growth and give your recommendations to the Ministry of Education.  There definitely must be money for a new school?!  Why has the new proposed school, on 194th & 68th, ground not been broken?  Why the hold-up?  Did you get our petition asking for it to be started sooner?

Dear Ministry of Education, what is your formula for predicting how many children will be in a townhome complex? A detached home? A carriage home? A basement suite?  A condo building?  You must notice how much you are paying for portables?!  You must realize that portables are just a band-aid solution.  Is your formula from 20 years ago? Who determines this formula and how is this determined?  Does anyone attempt to actually visit the neighbourhood and visibly see the growth?  Do you communicate with the City of Surrey to understand the growth?!?

Dear City of Surrey & Ministry of Education, do you not see that this is truly insane.

Sincerely,

Naomi Jesson, concerned taxpayer with a five year old and three year old.

Who would like her children to be in a classroom in the school, where there are washrooms.  Who does not want staggered recesses & lunches in order to accomodate the sheer volume of kids on the playground.  Who wants enough books in the school library for everyone to take out.  Who would like her children to attend assemblies where the whole school can fit in the gym.  Where the Christmas plays don’t have to have the lower grades one school year and the upper grades another school year.

Is that too much to ask for?



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