K-kids boost district enrolment numbers

Enrolment numbers were presented Monday night at a School District 20 (SD20) board meeting.

Enrolment numbers were presented Monday night at a School District 20 (SD20) board meeting and members are now breathing a sigh of relief after the past decade’s decline of enrolment appears to be leveling off.

But the break in the trend is not due to an onslaught of new residents but rather the over 270 kindergarten kids now considered full-time students.

In the last 10 years, school enrolment in SD20 has fluctuated from around 150 students from one year to the next.

“After we balanced out kindergarten classes, we are down by about 60 students,” said Greg Luterbach, superintendent of schools.

Achieving consistent numbers allows the school board to accurately create budgets and plan education programs effectively, he added, pointing to projections he made in the spring not being far off from actual figures.

“With this kind of projection the next three or four years are going to be something like plus or minus-20, minus-18 then plus or minus-15. So we are gone from the days of losing 150 kids in a year,” he said. “Unfortunately, there’s been no real growth, yet, but at least we’re stabilized.”

Among elementary schools, Rossland’s MacLean Elementary has 42 new students, the highest improvement out of all the schools in the district. Meanwhile Glenmerry in Trail has increased by 34 students, Fruitvale Elementary is up by 30 and Warfield’s Webster Elementary has gained 26 new kids.

But while elementary schools climb the charts, high school figures are still declining.

Rossland Secondary School is down by 14 students from last year while J. L. Crowe follows suit with 15 fewer teens on campus.

The drop in enrolment over the past decade has occurred right across the province with declining numbers recorded in the vast majority of districts.

“Literally, there are just less kids per family and families are moving out – it’s a whole combination,” said Luterbach.

“Fifty-five of the 60 districts have dropped over the last 10 years, it’s just a provincial trend.”