Ravi Parmar, chair of the Sooke school district, says two new schools set to open in Langford in 2022 are part of long-term plans to address growth on the West Shore. (File - Black Press Media)

Ravi Parmar, chair of the Sooke school district, says two new schools set to open in Langford in 2022 are part of long-term plans to address growth on the West Shore. (File - Black Press Media)

Ravi Parmar acclaimed as Sooke school board chair

Parmar said building more schools will be a big challenge in next few years

Ravi Parmar has been acclaimed as Sooke school board chair.

Parmar was the youngest board chair in B.C. when first elected chair in 2017. He was elected school trustee in 2014, on his 20th birthday, as a recent graduate of Belmont secondary school.

Parmar became interested in school board politics as a student activist pushing for a new school to help house the growing number of students at Belmont secondary school. With student enrolment seeing a record increase in the number of students last year, Parmar said that will be the most significant issue the school board has to tackle moving forward.

“We’ve got a lot of portables on our school sites that we want to remove because we don’t believe that portables should be long-term solutions, especially in the cases of some of our schools where we have upwards of 13 to 15 portables,” he said.

“We can’t slow down because whenever we’ve opened schools, in hopes of removing portables, we may remove them for a year or two, but they’ll come back because growth is just so exponential.”

Rob Beckett, who will remain as vice-chair on the board, said opening the new schools and adapting to the pandemic were the big successes from the past term. He said the pandemic had taught the board lessons about using virtual meetings, which he hopes will encourage more people to get involved with the school board.

Parmar added he hopes with the upcoming trustee election scheduled for 2022 that more young people will run and get elected.

“When I was first elected I was 20 so I was a recent consumer of the public school system,” he said. “It’s a few years since I’ve been graduated. So I’m losing my touch a little bit on that as I’m getting older.”

READ MORE: Sooke School District sees anticipated enrolment increase doubled this school year

READ MORE: Major growth continues in Sooke School District


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