District enrolment on upswing

For the past 10 years, dropping enrolment rates have resulted in funding cuts for the Vernon School District.

For the past 10 years, dropping enrolment rates have resulted in funding cuts for the Vernon School District.

But at long last, those numbers are climbing back up.

“When we started declining in enrolment, we predicted that this year would be our turnaround year, but we actually started to increase last year. It’s great news,” said district superintendent Joe Rogers, at Wednesday’s district board meeting.

“It’s fantastic news, as we are out of funding protection so we get more money. We actually have the money this year to pay for what we need and don’t have to use our surplus funds.

“The great news is we are above our projections of FTE (full-time equivalent). During February and June, we get a lot more information — (director of instruction) Diane Rhenisch goes around and finds out how many kids are coming from Vernon Christian School, St. James and Pleasant Valley Academy to give us an idea of numbers.”

The Ministry of Education bases its funding for the district on enrolment: more students means more money.

In February, the district sent its projections to the ministry of 7,820 FTE students from kindergarten to Grade 12. The alternative programs brought projections up to 8,031.

“What we’ve actually ended up with is 8,190 students, so after 10 years of cutting $19 or $20 million dollars, it’s nice to be able to get the money we need to run our programs,” said Rogers. “We have 147 more FTE students than we did last September, so it’s a significant increase in students and a significant increase in funding.”

Rogers said FTE is above the actual head count, as there are a number of students who take a ninth and 10th course, such as music.

Several schools saw significant jumps in enrolment. Lavington elementary increased by 12 students, from 145 to 157. Okanagan Landing elementary is up by 31 students, W.L. Seaton secondary is up by 71 students, Coldstream elementary is up by four; the alternate programs have increased by 18.

“Those are the big numbers, but everybody else really maintained enrolment,” said Rogers.

“This is not based on new kindergarten enrolment — these are new people who have moved into town. My guess is it might have something to do with people moving from Alberta and there’s probably some new hires at the pellet plant.”

District secretary-treasurer Sterling Olson said while there will be staffing changes to correspond with the increase in enrolment, it’s great news for the bottom line, and he plans on bringing a budget update to the next public board meeting Nov. 25

“The key piece is we don’t want people to think we have lots of money now,” he said.

“This gets us to a place where we don’t need surplus to balance the budget, so it is great news to be at a place where we are self-sustainable.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canadian author Paul Young, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, the Shack, will join Vernon-based foundation, the Emily Dahl Foundation, for a Fireside Chat event in June 2021. (YouTube)
Bestselling author to be keynote presenter at Vernon event

The Shack author Paul Young to join with Emily Dahl Foundation for summer Fireside Chat

The Vernon Winter Carnival Society, in conjunction with the Stor-it Place, will award two $500 scholarships to a pair of Grade 12 students. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon Winter Carnival offers up scholarships

Two Grade 12 students can win $500 scholarships in conjunction with Carnival and The Stor-it Place

North Okanagan Minor Hockey Association coach Rory Taber (left) accepts donations of new equipment for some local players from former NHL player Jason Podollan and his Up My Hockey brand, courtesy of Bauer Hockey. (Photo submitted)
Ex-NHLer sets up North Okanagan kids with new gear

Jason Podollan teams up with Bauer Hockey to help out some worthy families with new hockey equipment

The exhibit is set to open on Nov. 13. (File)
UBCO recieves $1.9M for cleantech hub

UBCO campus will help develop and commercialize clean technologies and create up to 50 well-paying jobs

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
115 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths in Interior Health

There are now a total of 4,970 cases in the region

Brett Forsythe battles it out in a game of singles pickleball on ice at Okanagan Training Rink Thursday, Jan. 7 in support of the Vernon Food Bank. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Pickleball play hits the ice in Okanagan

Rivals battle it out in support of the food bank

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Mountie transferred, fined after pointing gun at another officer

Const. Kristine Roesler argued she handled the gun safely and did it in the spirit of ‘dark humour’

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Carol Loiselle filed a discrimination and harassment complaint with the B.C. Humans Right Tribunal in 2018 after working at Windward Software Systems, Inc. in Penticton for eight years. (Google maps photo)
Penticton woman wins part of her B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case

Carol Loiselle alleges she faced years of discrimination, harassment at Windward Software Systems

Salmon Arm Recreation notified the public of a COVID-19 exposure at the Salmon Arm pool on Jan. 14. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Salmon Arm pool

Salmon Arm Recreation became aware of the virus exposure on Jan. 13.

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

The RCMSAR rescue boat did double duty as an icebreaker to evacuate a man in Seymour Arm who was in need of medical attention on Jan. 10. (RCMSAR Station #106/Facebook)
RCMSAR boat breaks ice on Shuswap Lake to reach man in need of medical attention

The Jan. 10 call saw the rescue boat ramming through ice to reach shore in Seymour Arm

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Most Read