School district numbers are in and they’re up, say district staff.
Secretary-treasurer Kevin Patrick updated the trustees at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting about the official enrolment numbers in School District 72 as of the end of September – the time on the school calendar when the province gets student numbers in school districts to determine the amount of their operating grants.
District staff were expecting numbers to be up, but the enrolment numbers exceeded their expectations. Patrick told the board the enrolment for the school year is 5,470 students.
“We’re up about 17 students over projections,” he told the board.
The number also represents an increase of about 65 students over enrolment at the end of September 2017.
“We’re continuing to have slow growth, with the bulk of the changes at the middle school level,” Patrick said.
For districts, the month of September means trying to determine where students should actually be enrolled, especially at the more senior grades, as well as answer any questions around which district some students should be registered in.
Last month, interim superintendent Jim Cambridge said early numbers indicated the district would likely have about 30 more students than in 2017. Even last year, the district had projected a decline in students numbers of about 27 but ended up with a slight increase.
The student numbers represent a bit of an upward trend after a period when enrolment dropped dramatically over a few years. Veteran trustees such as Daryl Hagen have spoken often the steep decline from enrolment of about 8,000 down to 5,000.
Following the meeting, chair Susan Wilson made a statement about the last meeting of the current board in general.
“It has been a true pleasure and honour to work with members of this board for the last four years. We have been faced by some challenging situations and important decisions during that time. This has been a strong team; we may not have always agreed on all issues, but we worked through decisions in a respectful, thoughtful manner,” she told the Mirror via email. “Everyone here has brought their own individual experience, perspectives, strengths and skills to the work of the board, but the common focus has always been on what decisions will ultimately be best for students.”