SD72 predicts decreased enrolment, less money to work with

Then again, “who knows what will happen between now and September?”

School District 72 is projecting a decrease in enrolment next year, meaning fewer funds with which to operate the district, but those projections have also been wrong in the past.

The Campbell River School District has sent their enrolment projections for next year to the provincial government, and it’s not great news from a financial perspective.

Enrolment numbers, Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Patrick told the board at their last public meeting, are “what our funding grants from the Ministry (of Education) are based on, and, unfortunately, our forecasts for next year are projecting a small decline of about 27 students.”

Which means, as they go into their current financial planning sessions, they are expecting that much less funding for next year.

While it’s unclear as to exactly why the enrolment is expected to decline, Patrick says there are more kids graduating than entering kindergarten, “but also, in the past, we’ve seen more people moving into the area throughout the year, and this year we haven’t quite seen the same increase as we have in the past, which has contributed to this drop. We’re hoping that will turn around in future years.”

Board Chair Susan Wilson says the board will take this projection into account when planning next year’s budget – which is happening now – but these initial projections are sometimes off, so while they can plan as much as they want, they never know exactly how much money they have to operate the district until final numbers are in for each year, typically in February.

“Every year it’s a little bit of an unknown,” Wilson admits. “Last year, we had a surprising increase over the summer, so who knows what will happen between now and September?”