WHALLEY - "Just give us what we were promised."
That was the message from parents of students at Surrey Traditional School who came out last Thursday to the Surrey School Board's meeting to express their anger over what they see as a reversal of the district's policy for no split classes at the school.
Despite past descriptions of Surrey Traditional proclaiming the school as one that would have small class sizes and no split classes, the board went ahead and introduced split classes to the school earlier this month.
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The language in question read: "At our school there are no 'split', 'blended' or 'combined' divisions. There are two classes per intermediate grades (4 - 7). Our kindergarten and grade one and three levels currently have three classes and all our primary grade levels will be expanded to three classes in coming years and be capped at a maximum of 20 students in each class."
According to district spokesperson Doug Strachan, the descriptions of the school were made in error and were in contravention of district policy. Strachan said it was believed the past principal of the school had put up the description, but that individual no longer works within the district.
As for the school's split classes, Strachan said the district could not rescind the decision, as the district is unable to give special treatment to any one school.
"The board, as relayed to the parents already, said they can't do that. That's the rule. There will be split classes when they're warranted," he said. "There will be reminders for schools to not leave stale information up and to ensure what's posted is up to date."
But for Lisa Garner, president of the school's Parent Advisory Committee, the district's response simply isn't good enough.
"None of the parents received answers, they were just told to submit their questions to the secretary and their questions would be answered," said Garner, of the meeting.
Garner said district superintendent Mike McKay was on hand to speak with angry parents, but was not satisfied with his or the school board's response.
"We asked him quite plainly, 'Are you going to own your mistake?' and they said they'd already apologized for the mistake and that they were sorry," said Garner. "They said they're doing due diligence, and following policy and I asked them what the policy was when they make a mistake?"
Fellow parent Jenyne Dorfer, said the parents' next step is to go to education minister Peter Fassbender, whose riding is also located in Surrey.
"We just want them to honour this year regardless of policy, do they not feel morally responsible?" said Dorfer.
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