School District 27 has begun a review of its catchment areas, after seeing an increase of 300 students across the district this fall.
Supt. Chris van der Mark said with higher enrolments putting pressure on some schools, the board decided it was time to do a proactive review. Any changes are still a ways off, he added.
“We’re just starting to look at it. It’s more of a problem in the north end of the Cariboo just because of the number and size of schools,” van der Mark said.
“It’s all hypothetical. Right now we’re in the process of getting the information but rest assured there won’t be any surprises or anything happening without consultations for people to provide feedback.”
The district has an “open gate policy” in the South Cariboo schools, allowing students to go to whichever school they choose. With more people moving into the community, van der Mark said they may need to change the policy, especially if some schools are full because students are being bussed there rather than attending classes in their home catchments.
Many students in Sulphurous Lake, for example, are in the Forest Grove Elementary School catchment but are bussed to Horse Lake Elementary School because it’s closer.
van der Mark added the district is also focusing on recruitment efforts to ensure they have full-time trained professionals to support their students in the wake of future enrolment bumps.
“We had a really good recruitment drive over the summer and brought in a lot of people. We want people on the substitute list,” van der Mark said. “Now that we’ve had a bunch of kids roll in, rather than have those people in reserve they now got full-time employment, which is great for them. We’re still recruiting to replace where those people were in the reserve.”