A report presented yesterday to the Chinook School Division shows a slight enrollment decline for the 2017-18 school year.

The decrease is 30 fewer students than last year at this time down to 5,969, something interim Director of Education Kyle McIntyre said was to be expected.

"I think when we first became Chinook 12 years ago we were predicting some enrollment decreases over time," he said. "30 is a number to be surprised about, but given what's occurring in the rest of the province, it's not super concerning."

The largest decline in numbers - which accounts for more than half the drop off - comes from 16 fewer colony students (a drop of 3.1 per cent). Public schools only saw an enrollment decline of six students, while home schooling fell by eight.

McIntrye did say the drop off will have an impact on funding but most of the funding they have is based on the number of schools located inside the division.

"There is a scale that gives you an allocation of staff based on the number of students you have," he explained. "I would like to say the effect of losing 30 students is negligible, but it really isn't. We're going to lose a bit of funding but not as much as you might think we're going to lose."

The division currently has a policy in place (policy 205) in which at this time each year the board of education has the option to review the future of a school, something McIntyre noted won't be happening.

"We need every single school that we have," he said. "Our population is very sparse, we're very disperse, so we need schools in every community that we presently have schools, so I'm happy to say we won't be evaluating or reviewing any schools. At some point down the road, we may have to look at our staffing levels if we continue to be hit in terms of our budget."

Wymark, Ponteix and Centennial are the three schools within the division that saw significate growth in enrollment. Fairview, Frontier, Gull Lake, Herbert, and Maple Creek Composite High School all saw noteworthy declines in this year's enrollment.

 

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