SD73 enrolment higher than projected
Enrolment in the Kamloops-Thompson school district is higher than projected — and that’s a good thing, according to assistant superintendent Karl deBruijn.
“We had 100 more kindergarten students than projected,” he said. “That’s good news because when they come in on the kindergarten end, that means you’re going to have them for a few years.”
The overall numbers are down slightly — 13,591 this year compared to 13,648 in 2011-2012 — but district officials aren’t worried.
“It’s not nearly as far as we’ve been down before,” deBruijn said. “We’re seeing the end of the decline and our enrolment will now stabilize.”
Numbers aren’t expected to rise any time soon, though.
SD73 has 1,300 Grade 12 students this year, compared to just 1,000 kindergarteners.
“That discrepancy is going to move through the system,” deBruijn said, noting the numbers also fluctuate with local economic activity.
Specifically, he said, NewGold has created a bump in enrolment numbers.
“A mine or a business like that brings in solid, well-paying jobs,” he said.
“That brings in families.
“When TRU brought Open Learning here, we saw a blip in enrolment. When IHA brought in their psychiatric facilities, we saw an increase in enrolment.
“And, when things shut down, that has a real detrimental effect on schools in those communities.”
DeBruijn said stability in enrolment figures means stability in funding.
“We use these numbers to predict the number of employees we need, the facilities plans,” he said.
“And, directly related to enrolment is funding, so we use the numbers for quite a bit.”
As for class sizes in SD73 schools, deBruijn said nothing’s out of the ordinary.
All of the district’s elementary class sizes are at or below capacity, and a handful of classes in area high schools are above.
“The classes are music, band and phys-ed,” deBruijn said, adding there are a few non-electives with 31 students — one over the limit of 30.
“The teachers in those circumstances, they’re thrilled there’s that many [students].
“All of the classes, in our opinion, are good for learning.”