Early district enrolment numbers down slightly; Grade 9 gone from RSS

“Twenty-three Grade 9s left and as a result, RSS has no Grade 9s enrolled this year.” - Bill Ford, SD20

One year after students in grades 10 to 12 were transferred to J.L Crowe Secondary School from Rossland, Grade 9 students from Rossland Summit School have joined them.

Numbers for student enrolment in School District 20 (SD20) were released for the 2014-2015 school year at Monday’s school board meeting in Trail, showing the enrolment numbers were zero for Grade 9 at RSS.

Bill Ford, assistant superintendent for SD20, says all of the students who would be going into Grade 9 this year at RSS have been transferred to Crowe, giving the high school 23 more students, but still less than the board predicted last year.

“Twenty-three Grade 9s left and as a result, RSS has no Grade 9s enrolled this year,” he said, adding that the curriculum won’t change for the remaining students.  “The same curriculum will still be delivered (to Grade 8 students). We staffed the school so they could run a middle school program with electives. Currently, on the books, RSS is a (kindergarten) to Grade 9 school, they just aren’t enrolling Grade 9s.”

Transferring the Grade 9 students to Crowe was a multi-step process, making sure the students are successful in their new school.

“One of the criteria that happens with a transfer request is that we make sure there is room,” said Ford. “With secondary school transfer requests, not only do we make sure there is room, but we make sure the school can provide a meaningful program for the child. Once that work is taken care of, then the transfer is approved.”

Monday’s school board meeting also saw a report on the current student enrolment numbers across the entire district. According to SD20 superintendent, Greg Luterbach, because of the teachers’ strike, the numbers are still not concrete.

“Normally, by the end of September, we are all revved up and getting ready to finalize our numbers,” he said. “But, as we all know, this year is not a typical year, so these numbers are from after three days of school. They are still pretty green.”

Currently, the school board has enrolled 60 students less than what was predicted based on numbers from the 2013-2014 school year. Luterbach says the lower enrolment numbers won’t affect any board funding.

“Given the fact that we are in funding protection, if we have less students than we predicted, we won’t get less money from the ministry,” he said. “We are in that state of funding protection where we already get a minimum amount of funding, so if we don’t reach our targets, we don’t lose funding and we won’t cut staff.”

As of Sept. 25, SD20 has 3,543 students enrolled in the traditional “brick and mortar” schools, according to Luterbach, with the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centre (KCLC) enrolling 139 students in alternate education programs this year.

“We knew that we were going to down some already,” he said. “But things like adults (at KCLC) will get factored in over the next couple weeks.”

The board has to submit their enrolment numbers to the Ministry of Education later than the usual Sept. 30 deadline, as in other school years. Luterbach says a more solid enrolment number will be submitted to the government by Oct. 24, with an official head count on ‘snapshot day’ on Oct. 17.

To see the full enrolment and student transfer reports, visit www.sd20.bc.ca. The next regular board meeting for SD20 is on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. at Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar.

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