School District 27 enrolment has dropped by 143 students this year and 80 of those students were lost due to the prolonged teacher strike, says SD27 superintendent Mark Thiessen.
“Some parents who wanted their children to be attending school at the beginning of September found other options for their children when the beginning of the public school year was delayed by a few weeks.
“We are hopeful that many of these students will return next year now that we know we will have labour peace for the next five years.”
Student enrolment for the 2014/15 school year is 4,574 compared to 4,717 students in 2013/14.
There have been seven and eight per cent drops in enrolment in a number of the larger schools in the district, including 100 Mile House Elementary, Mile 108 Elementary, Peter Skene Ogden Secondary, Lake City Secondary and Cataline Elementary, Thiessen notes.
“We have surprisingly seen an increase in a few of our rural schools where enrolment had dropped significantly in past years.”
The superintendent explained the impact of closing and reconfiguring schools during the past couple of years to balance the district’s budget.
“Due to the reconfiguration of schools prior to last school year, we saw temporary increases in enrolment at Chilcotin Road Elementary, Cataline Elementary, and Nesika Elementary [in Williams Lake].
“Portables were added at Chilcotin Road and Nesika to deal with the significant increases in students. Already this year, we have seen those numbers begin to drop.
“Nesika is the exception to this as we have seen increases to our French Immersion, so Nesika has no extra classroom space.”
Noting SD27 has been steadily losing students for several years, Thiessen explains one reason for that decline is more students have graduated than kindergarten students have enrolled.