Enrolment up at most Nanaimo high schools

A majority of Nanaimo high schools are projected to have higher enrolment than originally anticipated, according to school district.

A majority of Nanaimo district high schools are projected to have higher enrolment than originally anticipated, according to information from the school district.

At the district’s Nov. 8 business committee meeting, John Blain, school superintendent, made a presentation about district enrolment for 2016/17 and according to that, while Cedar Community Secondary was projected to have 204 students, the latest figures say 229 students.

Dover Bay Secondary was projecting 1,404 students, but as of the report, 1,412 students were listed.

Nanaimo District Secondary School was projecting 1,337 students, but 1,392 students were listed.

Wellington Secondary saw a projection of 908 but there are 929 enrolled.

John Barsby Secondary was off its projection by five students, with enrolment listed at 645. It could be attributed to the fact that catchment changed when Cedar Secondary re-opened this past September.

“A lot of students went … from Cedar went to Ladysmith and Barsby and a lot of those students chose to go back to Cedar when it re-opened,” said Stephanie Higginson, school board vice-chairwoman.

The closure of Woodlands Secondary last June also led to number increases at Wellington and NDSS, said Higginson, but enrolment rise also has to do with labour stability with the teachers and B.C. government in a long-term collective bargaining agreement.

“I think what we’re seeing a little bit now is the calm after the storm of the strike,” Higginson said. “We’re two years out and we did see a drop that was related to the labour dispute and now that that has passed, and now that we are in a long-term contract … I think those families are starting to come back.”

Higginson said it’s hard to say if the upward trend will continue. The software the district uses to project enrolment is based on the previous 10 years. The Ministry of Education is working on better projectors for everyone to use, she said.

The district is hoping for continued growth however, Higginson said.

An October district report, estimated 13,184 students for the 2016/17 school year, up from a previous projection of 12,912.

Final student enrolment numbers are expected to be released in June.