Enrolment is exceeding expectations for some schools in School District 71, secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker told the board at the last meeting of the school year in June.
The numbers have been higher than those staff presented to the board in February.
“We may have to consider some boundary adjustments,” she said.
Over the longer term, they will have to look at factors such as planned development in the Comox Valley. Staff will bring recommendations to the board in September for any catchment adjustments to identify catchment schools for planned housing construction and subdivisions.
Chair Sheila McDonnell said some people moving to the area this summer might find no room at the nearest school, and students may be assigned to a different school, though she feels the district can handle the challenge.
“We’re confident all of the schools offer great education opportunities,” she said.
Funding for recovery for K-12 education
The province announced funding will be available to help schools adjust with pandemic recovery efforts for the coming school year, secretary-treasurer Brenda Hooker said at the June 22 meeting.
“The good news is there’s some recovery fund and a recovery plan for September start-up,” she said.
Initially, the province will commit $13.9 million for all school districts in the province. In addition, there will be $5 million for mental health supports.
The recovery plan includes information on parent and caregiver options, health and safety guidelines, impacts on learning and well-being, considerations for Indigenous students, students with disabilities or diverse abilities or those requiring additional support and plans for international or boarded students.
In response to a question from the board, Hooker said the district can expect $227,000.
Facilities plan is status quo for now
After looking at options for schools as part of its Long-Range Facilities Plan, the board of education opted for the status quo in terms of grade configurations. Three other options involved some reconfiguration of grades between elementary, middle and secondary schools.
Director of operations Ian Heselgrave said the staff recommendation, for now, was to maintain the status quo. He acknowledged some challenges around space issues and said they will provide more information for the trustees during the new school year.
“In the fall, senior staff will bring forward some potential options and solutions for those challenges for the board to consider,” director of operations Ian Heselgrave told the board.
The district started the process following Ministry of Education 2020/21 capital plan instructions in May that required boards of education to have a comprehensive Long-Range Facilities Plan. The district stresses the plan is only a facilities plan and not intended to examine appropriate grade structures for schools, the placement of district programs or the viability or desirability of neighbourhood schools.
District adds BAA courses
The board of education approved five board-authority authorized courses (BAAs) at the June meeting.
Two are current courses being reformatted to meet new curriculum guidelines, while the other three are new offerings. The three new courses are Foundations of Inquiry, Community Outreach and Action 11, and Community Outreach and Action 12. The revised courses are PE Games 11 and PE Games 12.
“They look like a lot of fun,” board chair Sheila McDonnell said.
The staff report says the Community Outreach and Action BAAs support the current Aspire to Action course offered at Georges P. Vanier Secondary School, while the Foundations of Inquiry course is a standalone course to help students participate in a democratic society.