During the 2018-2019 school year, almost all local schools within the South Cariboo saw an increase in registration numbers overall. The same can’t be said for this year’s registration numbers, though, as this September brought a different scenario.
This year, registration numbers are down so far for a number of schools within School District No. 27.
Smaller schools like Forest Grove, Horse Lake and Lac la Hache Elementary each saw a slight increase in registration numbers this month for the 2019-2020 school year, but three of the largest schools in the region actually saw their registration numbers drop this September.
Last year, Mile 108 Elementary registered 210 students compared to this year’s 184 registered.
The school’s principal, Ken Lucks, said that Mile 108 Elementary is almost “bang-on” for what their projected registration numbers would be this school year.
“We’re right on where we need to be, where we’ve been. We had a large [Grade 7] class last year leave us,” he explained.
Similarly, Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) in 100 Mile House enrolled 580 students last year, compared with 531 this year.
Geoff Butcher is the principal at PSO and confirmed that enrollment this year is down from what staff expected.
“Of course, our projections were pre-mill closures, so we expected to be a little lower than expected. Presently the numbers are still in flux but we are anticipating a net loss of about 17 students,” said Butcher in an email to the Free Press on Sept. 11.
“We do not have quantifiable evidence linking the mill closures and the loss but there has undoubtedly been an impact.”
100 Mile Elementary school didn’t see a substantial drop in registration this year, but numbers were still lower than they have been in the past.
“This year we have 206 students registered in the English divisions and 146 registered in French Immersion for a total of 352,” said Maria Telford, principal of 100 Mile Elementary school.
Last year, 100 Mile Elementary registered 364 students.
81 students registered for the new year at Forest Grove Elementary school, while just 74 registered for the previous year. Horse Lake Elementary saw 192 registrations this year, compared with 164 the past year. Lac la Hache Elementary had 32 registered students for 2019-2020, and registered 28 last year.
Carrie Pratt, executive assistant and manager of communications for School District No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin) noted that these numbers represent preliminary enrollment data, which can fluctuate throughout the month of September.
Eliza Archie Memorial school is not within district No. 27, but serves the Canim Lake band and surrounding communities.
Michelle Archie is the band’s education administrator. She said the school saw an increase in student registration this year, with 28 students registered between Kindergarten and Grade 7 and five students registered for Grades 8 through 12. Only 24 students were registered last year, said Archie.