Local school district enrolment continues to decline

Enrolment in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is slightly ahead of projections, but down overall.

Enrolment in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District is slightly ahead of projections, but down overall.

The number of students is down approximately 163 full-time equivalents (FTEs) from the 2012-2013 enrolment of 14,019 students, but that is 27 more than the district had budgeted for.

The youngest learners are on the increase in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

“The kindergarten numbers are higher than they have been in years,” deputy superintendent Laurie Meston told trustees at their second board meeting of the new school year on Wednesday evening.

She said kindergarten enrolment is at 1,038, which is up from 996 last year.

Based on her personal experience, Meston predicted that next year’s kindergarten signup may be lower than projections.

“I believe it’s because people like to have babies two years apart,” she theorized.

Meston noted secondary enrolment numbers continue to decline.

Even though schools are funded by the education ministry on a per-pupil basis, at a rate of $8,603 per student, the 27 unexpected students will not be a financial windfall for the district.

School districts with declining enrolment – which is most school boards across the province – are “topped up” by a policy called funding protection, explained secretary treasurer Flavia Coughlan.

It is an acknowledgement that boards with declining enrolment still face rising costs due to inflation. The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows district is already receiving funding protection, so the additional students will not create more provincial funding.

She noted that in March the government announced that per pupil funding would increase, but that did not improve the local district’s financial position, because funding protection decreased by a corresponding amount.

The per pupil funding increase meant grants to eight school districts increased, while 52 districts were left to share funding protection of $39 million.

Across B.C., student enrolment has dropped almost 10 per cent since the 2000-2001 school year.

The final numbers for the local school district will be known at the end of September.

Just Posted

Junior hockey back, as Flames host exhibition

Ice Hawks visit Maple Ridge on Aug. 23

Resident asks Maple Ridge council to skip UBCM reception

Doesn’t want politicians to attend China-sponsored event

The scenic route through Maple Ridge

Winding Fern Crescent offers relaxing views

Bulldogs defeat Ridge Meadows Royals

Exhibition game proved to be challenging for both teams

Pitt Meadows man attacked on Lougheed Highway

Ridge Meadows RCMP not sure if road rage incident

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read