With students back in classrooms, parents are likely wondering what's to happen in a school year that could face disruptions from job action, funding issues and overcrowded classrooms.
On the forefront of the concerns is potential job action with school support workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). As negotiations with the union are set to begin this week, the union has said a strike this fall is a legitimate possibility.
If that were to occur, questions about whether teachers - who will also be in labour talks - would respect CUPE picket lines remain unclear.
"I'm very optimistic as the negotiators get back to the table on the fourth, fifth and sixth of September that they're all going to do their jobs," said Education Minister and Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender when asked about the potential school disruptions.
"I believe that we'll find a solution, that is my hope and they're going to work together to get there," he said.
"I'm not going to presume anything at this stage. I want to see a school year without any disruption, that's my goal, and I've heard CUPE say that as well, that's their goal."
Depending on how the CUPE negotiations go, it may also be up to school districts around the province to pay for wage hikes, and districts are being asked to set money aside for potential support worker pay increases.
"We are operating under the co-operative gains mandate, so we are asking school districts to look at ways they can find efficiencies in their systems and fund any increases that might be considered," said Fassbender.
Shawn Wilson, chair of the Surrey school board, said while it may require some financial juggling, the board is prepared to take on this year's financial challenges.
"Every year we face new pressures in our budget. This year might be particularly troublesome with a (possible) lift for support staff, but those are the challenges," Wilson said.
"It's not like money is falling out of the sky and government is just holding it."
Finally, Wilson said while it's nice that the district will be seeing an additional 1,800 classroom spaces opening up by the spring, he's hopeful the ministry will remain attuned to Surrey's overcrowding issue.
"We've been catching up in the last couple of years and we'd really like to resolve that one issue in Grandview," he said.
The issue in question is the district's purchase of land for a new secondary school in the Grandview area of South Surrey on behalf of the province.
The purchase was made using district money in order to speed up the process of having a new school built in the area, but the ministry still has yet to commit to funding the construction of the muchneeded school.
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