Unrest growing over crowded Langley schools

Langley City and Township may feel they are getting failing grades when it comes to local education.

Both councils at their public meetings this past Monday discussed education concerns.

Langley City Councillor Dave Hall made a motion to seek timely consultation and discussion regarding future facilities, planning, implementation, busing and expendiures.

“We have not met as a formal group for well over a year,” he noted about the Langley School District and City council.

Coun. Teri James and Acting Mayor Ted Schaffer sit on the City School District Liaison Committee. James suggested council formulate specific questions she could take to the next meeting, expected in September when school resumes.

Hall’s motion was defeated but council approved a motion to compile specific questions for the school district.

Hall said he’s concerned the City is being “left behind” in discussions about school site acquisition for growing areas like Willoughby where schools are over capacity. As well, there are rumours about busing Willoughby students as far as Aldergrove to schools with excess capacity.

At the June school board meeting, the board discussed possibly busing to D.W. Poppy Secondary and that Langley Secondary would require some seismic upgrading if more students were sent there.

School crowding comes up frequently at Langley Township council. On July 21 council discussed another proposed development on the Willoughby Slope. Several residents again complained about potential busing of students and of overcrowded local schools at a public hearing earlier in the month.

Several councillors wondered why, with so many crowded schools in Willoughby, the district is not making more use of the former James Anderson Elementary. The school site sits on 66th Avenue and 203rd Street. The school district is consolidating it and the APEX program based in Otter.

A motion by Councillor Charlie Fox was passed at the end of the debate, which included making an appointment to talk to B.C. Education Minister Peter Fassbender about local school issues, and to put the subject of James Anderson Elementary onto the agenda for the next meeting of the Township-School District liaison committee.

School resumes Sept. 2 but with the teacher/provincial government dispute unresolved, there’s still uncertainty about what to expect come the start of the school year.

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