District optimistic despite lower enrolment

Enrolment within Okanagan Skaha School District is down by 33 students so far this year, although officials see it as cause for optimism.

Enrolment within the Okanagan Skaha School District is down by 33 students so far this year, although officials see it as cause for optimism.

“Our projected enrolment (for 2013-14) estimated a decline of 100 students, so we have 77 more students than we anticipated,” superintendent Wendy Hyer told trustees at last week’s board meeting.

The total number of students enrolled in the district stood at 5,989 as of Sept. 30, down from 6,073 as of May 30.

“So, although our enrolment continues to decline, it’s one of the smallest declines we’ve seen in probably 10 years,” said Hyer.

She cautioned, however, that the smaller-than-expected drop will not mean more money.

Schools are funded based on full-time equivalent students rather than headcount, she explained, so it’s possible those extra bodies will bring only partial dollars.

Plus, the district is still in funding protection from the Ministry of Education that guards against unexpected changes in funding due to fluctuating enrolment.

“Even though we have 77 more… kids, which required us to hire additional teachers, we won’t actually see any increase in funding,” Hyer said.

School board chairwoman Ginny Manning said enrolment is projected to hold steady next year, then increase slightly for 2015-16.

“It is heartening to see that the enrolment decline this year is considerably smaller than was anticipated and in fact is the smallest decline in 10 years,” she said.

Assistant superintendent Dave Burgoyne said the district doesn’t track where the 77 unexpected students came from, although some arrived in the South Okanagan with their families from neighbouring provinces.

“That’s just an observation,” he cautioned, “not hard numbers.”

Five of 18 schools in the district saw their headcount increase between the end of the last school year and the first month of the current session.

Penticton Secondary School registered the largest overall boost, with 27 extra kids that took it up to 1,231. The smallest student body in the district remains at Naramata Elementary, which had just 65 pupils registered as of Sept. 30.

Meanwhile, the number of high school students who attended summer school in July declined significantly.

Just 13 students, all in Grades 9 and 10, attended two weeks of remedial math classes only, down from 42 a year earlier.

Jennifer Wingham, the principal for program for middle and high school students, attributed the decline to a steep decrease in the number of referrals from schools.

She told trustees that fewer students are being referred to summer classes because schools are finding new ways to help them pass courses.

Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read