While student enrolment in the Kootenay Columbia School District climbed for the fourth straight year, the recently-released total showed the climb isn’t as pronounced as previous ones.
This year’s student enrolment in the district stands at 3,983, up 50 students from 2018.
That pales in comparison to an increase of 121 students in 2016. In 2017, there was a rise of 80 students and in 2018 there was 79 additional students.
School Superintendent Bill Ford said, in an email reply, the district is predicting that trend will continue over the next few years.
“Yes, we are projecting small growth over the next few years,” he said. “Projections are an art, not a science. We do our best to be accurate, and for the most we have been pretty accurate over the years.”
The good news is any increase means additional funding for the district. But the bad news is costs increased as well.
“Keep in mind that our costs went up with the additional teachers added,” he explained.
A closer breakdown in the district numbers shows the biggest increase in student population was at Twin Rivers Elementary in Castlegar, which added 36 students.
Trail’s J.L. Crowe Secondary reported 34 additional students this year bringing its student body total to 826.
That number is just above the high school’s stated capacity of 825 when it was opened in 2009.
“They are 100 per cent full,” said Ford. “That being said, the building was designed for that capacity.”
Crowe principal Aaron McKenzie told the Trail Times the school is well-equipped to handle the numbers.
“The school is obviously busy but it doesn’t feel overcrowded,” he said in an email reply.
“We have fully utilized the learning spaces and the design helps. A perfect example would be the multi-purpose area that is spacious area where students socialize, eat and work at long tables.
“The ample spaces for physical activity also helps. The weather is good and our fields are busy. Our workout areas (three in the school) and the additional use of the field house is a bonus.”
He added the science lab (super lab) design can accommodate many classes at the same time.
Other schools that reported more students this year were Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries Secondary School (SHSS), Rossland Summit School and Kinnaird Elementary in Castlegar. All recorded an increase of 16 students in each school.
The increased numbers saw additional classes added to Kinnaird, Twin Rivers and Rossland Summit, but Ford couldn’t specify in what grades the divisions were added.
The only other schools reporting a positive student gain were Webster Elementary in Warfield, which has an additional four students over last year’s total, and Kootenay Columbia Secondary School (KCSS), which is the Alternate Ed program that also offers a high school program, added six students to its enrolment to bring it to 72 pupils.
Fruitvale Elementary School (FES) was one of three schools reporting less students than in 2018. FES reported a drop of 18 students from last year’s total while Glenmerry School had five less students and Robson Community School was down one student from last year’s number.
Overall totals for the Greater Trail elementary schools saw Webster with 299 students, Glenmerry with 367 students and Fruitvale Elementary with 372 students.
Rossland Summit School has a total of 424 students this year while in Castlegar, SHSS has 590 pupils, Kinnaird has 374 students, Twin Rivers has 489 students and Robson has 167 students.
The overall numbers include 54 students, which were previously part of the Distance Learning program, but are now claimed differently.