School enrollment lower than expected

  • Oct. 3, 2007 5:00 a.m.

By Alex Rinfret–The number of students in public schools on the islands continues to fall, with enrollment at 728 students as of Sept. 30. That’s a loss of about 26 students from last Sept. 30, secretary-treasurer Ken Campbell said. The 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 so many students was inexplicable. “I’m not sure what the reasons are for it but certainly it is more than we expected,” he told trustees at last week’s school board meeting. Port Clements elementary is now the smallest school in the district, with only 44 students, down 12.5 from last year (kindergarten students count for 0.5 of a student). Agnes L. Mathers school in Sandspit and G.M. Dawson Secondary also lost students: almost 18 at Dawson and 3.5 at ALM (some high school students count as a fraction of a student). The three other schools saw increased enrollment: just over nine more students registered at Queen Charlotte Secondary, five more at Tahayghen, and 2.5 more at Sk’aadgaa Naay. The rest of the loss is made up of distributed learning and continuing education students. 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. Enrollment at islands schools as of Sept. 30:. Queen Charlotte Secondary: 157.75 (up from 148.375 in 2006). G.M. Dawson Secondary: 132.25 (down from 150). Sk’aadgaa Naay elementary: 170 (up from 167.5). Tahayghen elementary: 142.5 (up from 137.5). A.L. Mathers elementary-secondary: 47.5 (down from 51). Port Clements elementary: 44 (down from 56.5)