Original article published on Fraser Valley Today
By Megan Dykeman
Summer has flown by and fall approaches as students throughout the Province head back to school this week. Even though we’ll miss the summer fun, I am sure that everyone will be excited to see their friends and favourite teachers in the classroom this year.
As a former School Trustee and current MLA for Langley East, I believe that the future of both our youth and this province will be determined largely by how well we all fulfill our obligation to provide our children with the best education possible. As we strive to achieve this goal, we are fortunate to have robust facilities and dedicated educators who can open world-class opportunities for our kids.
Since 2017, our government has invested in seismic upgrades and classroom expansions for multiple schools here in the Langley School District (SD35), including Peter Ewart Elementary, Vanguard Secondary and Shortreed Elementary. In 2021, we opened the new seismically sound Donna Gabriel Robins Elementary, providing quality education for 555 more kids in the Langley Township area.
Back to school should be an exciting time for families. However, I know that global inflation is a concern for an increasing number of families as the cost of living goes up and they budget for school supplies, groceries and gas. That is why our government announced $60 million dollars in funding in this past week for school districts to give parents a break in the 2022/23 school year through the Student and Family Affordability Fund. This $60 million dollar fund adds to annual funding that the Ministry of Education and Child Care provides school districts to help fund things like counselling, breakfast, lunch and snack programs or after-school programs.
Every school district in the province will receive at least $250,000 that will immediately assist in bringing down costs for families by helping subsidize things like school meal programs or extra costs like field trips and school supplies. To ensure that no family in need is left behind if they are struggling to keep up with the cost of living, our government is committed to ensuring that access to this assistance will be handled privately between parents and education staff, and parents will not be asked to provide any proof of hardship.
Our government has made record investments in education through funds like this and by building and upgrading schools and classrooms to provide more capacity and safer, seismically sound spaces so our kids can continue to receive the best education possible.
I wish all students in Langley and across this province a safe and happy return to school this week and every success as they continue their education!