Enrollment down

  • Sep. 28, 2007 9:00 a.m.

By Alex Rinfret-The number of students in public schools on the islands continues to fall, with enrollment at just 720 students as of mid-September. That’s a loss of 33 students from last September, secretary-treasurer Ken Campbell told trustees when they met at G.M. Dawson secondary Tuesday (Sept. 25). However, final numbers will be compiled next week, with school district officials expecting to see a slight increase in enrollment by the official date of Sept. 30 as adult learners return. The preliminary enrollment figures came as a surprise, Mr. Campbell said. The district was expecting a loss of 10 to 12 students – continuing a trend in declining enrollment which has been going on for the past several years. But the loss of 33 students was inexplicable. “I’m not sure what the reasons are for it but certainly it is more than we expected,” he said. One school in particular suffered a drastic reduction. At Port Clements elementary, there are only 36.5 students left -20 fewer students than last year. Agnes L. Mathers school in Sandspit and G.M. Dawson also lost students: 2.5 at ALM and just over 12 at Dawson (kindergarten and adult students can count as a fraction of a student, so the enrollment numbers are not always whole numbers). The three other schools saw increased enrollment: almost 12 more students registered at Queen Charlotte Secondary, 3.5 more at Tahayghen, and 2.5 more at Sk’aadgaa Naay. The rest of the preliminary loss is made up of “distributed learning” students, which will probably show an increase by the end of the month. The drop in students could mean less money for the district, because provincial grants to school districts are based on how many students they have. But Mr. Campbell told trustees the loss won’t amount to more than $73,000, because the province has promised not to give any districts less than they received the previous year. “In a $10-million budget, I think we can handle that,” he said. The provincial grants depend on the enrollment numbers as of Sept. 30, not the preliminary numbers. Preliminary enrollement at islands schools:. Queen Charlotte Secondary: 160 (up from 148.375 in 2006). G.M. Dawson Secondary: 137.625 (down from 150). Sk’aadgaa Naay elementary: 170 (up from 167.5). Tahayghen elementary: 141 (up from 137.5). A.L. Mathers elementary-secondary: 48.5 (down from 51). Port Clements elementary: 36.5 (down from 56.5)