School District 71 is again seeing more students this year. File photo

Enrolment continues to rise in Comox Valley school district

Schools such as Denman Island provided a surprise after the final tally

School District 71 continues to grow, according to the latest enrolment update.

At the Oct. 22 board meeting, assistant superintendent Geoff Manning, describing the situation a “good news” story, gave a brief presentation to the board of education about how the numbers stand versus projections from earlier in the year.

In September, he told the board that staff were anticipating increases at many schools.

“At the last meeting, we were feeling pretty good about it,” Manning told the trustees. “The numbers have come in.”

He said enrolment in on the increase “substantially” in the kindergarten to Grade 12 system, as well as in the district’s alternate education program. There were almost 1oo more students in the system.

As well, the district’s distance education program had added approximately 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) students.

“That was really great news,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley schools project student enrolment increase

RELATED STORY: School District 71 starting the year on a strong note

The district does not report final numbers until the Ministry of Education releases official enrolment at the end of the month.

School districts plan for each coming school year by projecting enrolment in order to put together a preliminary budget and staff schools. Their operating grant from the Ministry of Education is based on actual enrolment numbers as of Sept. 30 each year, which are then used to produce a final budget for each year. The projections tend to be accurate, especially over the long-term, Manning told the board, but there were some surprises within the district this fall.

“We were up on Denman Island,” he said.

This translates into eight additional students, which Manning said might not sound like a lot, but for smaller schools like Denman Island Community School, it makes for a big jump.

“It actually created staffing issues, and we needed to add a teacher there,” he said.

Manning described Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary as “way up.” With 510 students, it is now the largest elementary school in the district.

Huband Park was also up by 10 students over what the district projected earlier in the year, with almost 400 students in total.

Cumberland Community School, which runs from the StrongStart early learning program up through Grade 9, was also up, with a total of 547 students.

Another surprise, Manning said, was Lake Trail Middle School, which was up by more than 20 students over projections.

“That’s all good news information,” Manning said. “The money that we will receive for those extra students is going to go back out into schools.”

The board had questions for the assistant superintendent as to whether there were any surprises in terms of declining enrolment. Manning cited Valley View Elementary as the one that stands out, adding district staff are not sure why the student population has been steadily decreasing over time. He suggested people in the catchment area may not be moving, meaning there is no influx of new families.

“That’s a bit of a surprise,” he added.

On the whole though, most schools that saw decreases only dropped by two or three students over projections.

RELATED STORY: School district launches catchment consultation process in the Comox Valley

School District 71 is also undergoing a review of school catchment areas to determine whether to change boundaries in order to better use space at local schools. It will be consulting with community stakeholders in November and December.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A photo of the missing mushroom pickers from the Lil’Wat Nation near Pemberton: River Leo (left) and dad Peter Oleski. Facebook photo/Sea to Sky Road Conditions page
Two Comox Valley-based search organizations assisting in missing Pemberton mushroom pickers

Two members from the Lil’Wat Nation were last seen Oct. 22

Students at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary kicked off the Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) campaign in 2019. Scott Stanfield photo
Everybody Deserves a Smile campaign adapts to COVID-19 challenges

“We didn’t want to lose our heartfelt hands-on approach.”

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at HMCS Quadra in Comox

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

Courtenay residents will have a substantial schedule change for curbside trash collection beginning in January 2021. (Ben Lypka/Black Press file)
Courtenay moving to a zone system for curbside trash collection

New system means collection days will change with every statutory holiday

A jubilant Ronna-Rae Leonard salutes the crowd at her victory party at the Avalanche Bar & Grill. (photo by Scott Stanfield)
UPDATE: Leonard declared early winner for Courtenay-Comox

NDP incumbent held similar margin of lead throughout the evening

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

Most Read