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High school enrolment numbers down

Elementary school numbers rise

School enrolment is down this fall, but the decline has shifted from the elementary schools to Brooks Secondary School.

According to numbers of students reported to the ministry of education, there are just over 1,800 students enrolled in School District 47 schools.

“The decline is rolling through secondary,” said Jay Yule, superintendent of schools for the district.

There will be 77 fewer students at Brooks this year while 14 more students will be attending district elementary schools.

Westview and James Thomson elementary schools have 41 kindergarten students each. Throughout the district, 135 kindergarten students entered the public school system this fall.

Yule said that there used to be more grade 12 students graduating than kindergarten students entering, but now the decline is with the number of grade eight students going into secondary school.

One hundred and forty-two grade eights entered Brooks this year and 186 students could potentially graduate.

Despite the fact that there are not enough grade eights to cover the number of students graduating, Yule said some of the school’s students come from other sources than the elementary schools. Every year there is a bump in secondary school numbers with students coming in from Powell River’s French school École Côte du Soleil and Assumption School, he said, as well as Powell River Christian School. These schools do not have a senior high school program.

Yule said that some high school students are funded at a higher level than others. “Several of our trades programs and music students actually take more than a full-time load,” said Yule.

So while most students count as one full-time equivalent (FTE), some dual credit students are funded higher. One student might be funded as high as 1.2 students, he added.

Though enrolment is down by 63 students from last year, it will not affect this year’s budget.

“Enrolment isn’t such a huge factor because we’re in funding protection,” said Yule, “so we’re guaranteed 98.5 per cent of last year’s budget. It affects you the following year.”

Yule said funding protection gives school districts more funding stability to be able to make budgets for the following year.