Over 400 more students enrolled in school district than forecasted

·2 min read

Enrolment in Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools is up this year with an additional 434 students enrolled over projections for 2021-22.

Sept. 30 enrolment indicates there are 339 more students attending NLPS schools and alternate programs than this time last year. The district budgeted for an additional 51 full-time equivalent (FTE) students to enter the district this year, but the picture in mid-October showed 415 FTE more over that projection.

“We are a growing school district because of the rebound from COVID but also because of demographic realities,” Secretary-Treasurer Mark Walsh told the business committee on Oct. 13.

The district has added 25.4 FTE teaching staff to support the additional student population. The additional revenue via the operating grant from the province will cover the $2.8 million approximate cost, Walsh said.

As of Oct. 13, there were 142 students enrolled at Gabriola Elementary compared to 139 in 2020 and 167 in 2019. Nanaimo District Secondary is sitting at 1,521 students while in 2020 and 2019 there were 1,363 and 1,345 students, respectively. NDSS has the largest student population of all the secondary schools in the district.

The migration from distributed learning back to bricks and mortar schools is generally in line with forecasted expectations, the district says. Island ConnectED has 667 students currently versus 1,376 in 2020 and 536 in 2019. Enrolment in Island ConnectED has particularly dropped from Kindergarten to Grade 9. In Sept. 2020, there were 831 FTE, Kindergarten through Grade 9, in DL compared to 316 FTE currently. The district projected 170 FTE in that grade range. But for Grades 10-12 there are 24.5 fewer FTE than projected for a total of 54 FTE.

Student course loads at the secondary level, which dipped last year, are also more in line with “normal trends.”

Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder

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