Okanagan-Skaha school enrolment continues to drop

Enrolment numbers show the student population in local schools has plunged by 2,000 kids in the past 15 years.

Fresh enrolment numbers show the student population in local schools has plunged by 2,000 kids in the past 15 years.

“From the numbers that we see going up into our high schools now, and the predicted decline for the next few years, we’ll still go down for a couple more before levelling off in our high schools,” Okanagan Skaha assistant-superintendent Dave Burgoyne told trustees at their board meeting last week.

As of November, the headcount across the district was 5,868, he said, down from 7,878 during the 1999-2000 school year.

The decline mirrors a B.C.-wide decrease, but superintendent Wendy Hyer is hopeful her district may soon begin to buck that trend.

“We’ve got a city council who are looking at focusing on economic development for the community, because if you create jobs, et cetera, we’re hopeful that the economy will show a bit of recovery and we’ll get some immigration into the area,” she said.

The district is also trying to bulk up its enrolment by attracting new international students to the region.

Burgoyne included the student numbers in his presentation to the board on class sizes.

According to his report, the average kindergarten class in the district this year has 19.2 students, slightly below last year’s B.C. average of 19.3.

Classes in Grades 1 to 3 average 20.7 kids, and Grades 4 to 7 have 24.5, both below the provincial marks.

High school classes, however, are averaging 24.2 students, above the B.C. norm of 23.