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School district continues to add more students to Comox Valley

Latest number is higher than the five-year growth trend for local schools
School District 71 continues to add more students. Record file photo

The growth trend in local public schools shows no signs of slowing down.

At the November board meeting for School District 71, assistant superintendent Geoff Manning informed school trustees about the latest numbers.

He noted the district over the last five years has averaged about 270 new students migrating to the area per year, but it was more than the average, with 308 for the year.

“We are a growing district and have been for probably the last six, seven years,” he said. “The trajectory right now seems to be still up, up, up.”

Manning said one question, which had been brought up by trustee Janice Caton earlier in the meeting, was whether the district might see any migration from communities that had been affected by recent flooding, or perhaps in the future from other potential disasters such as fires.

“That’s something we’re going to have to watch,” he said.

He also said the ongoing growth is the topic of conversation in terms of how it might affect ongoing operations.

Caton also wanted to know if enrolment projections were made based solely on traditional housing growth or whether they included other housing situations.

“Many families don’t live in traditional brick-and-mortar houses,” she said. “They’re renting trailers on lots. They’re living in RV parks…. Affordable housing is a big deterrent for some families.”

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley school enrolment up despite fewer kids in class

Trustee Sheila McDonnell asked whether the district might see increases in distributed or online learning because of any students being displaced. Superintendent Tom Demeo responded they were approached by the ministry but the district expects any support would be temporary.

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