More students are filling school hallways in the Harbour City.
The Nanaimo school district has released its enrolment numbers for the school year showing there are more than 13,730 full-time equivalent students, up from 13,427 the B.C. Ministry of Education funded last year.
The number doesn’t include more than 350 international and francophone students and accounts for only the student body the district gets funding for.
School superintendent John Blain said the increase is a result of a lot of reasons: an increase in kindergarteners entering the school system eight to nine years ago, immigration, population growth of Nanaimo and a shift from private school. He said Nanaimo is a growth area – and that was predicted by the school district.
The district is also expecting kindergarten students to increase in the coming years, spiking in 2018 to 1,045 from 1,014 before plateauing for several years.
“Overall these numbers are telling us that our projections have been close to correct. We are on an upward incline and probably will continue to have an incline of 200-300 students for the next four to five years, which will top us out at about 14,500-15,000 students over the next 10-year period,” he said. “So that’s positive.”
There are more than 8,400 elementary school children in Nanaimo and over 4,800 high schoolers, including international and francophone – though only 4,764 of the secondary students are considered full-time equivalents and funded by the ministry.
Compared with numbers submitted to the ministry last October, Nanaimo District Secondary School and Cedar Community Secondary saw the largest increases in FTE students. Cedar Secondary has 246 students this year compared to 230 in 2016-17 and NDSS is at 1,318 from 1,282. Wellington dropped from 827 to 802 while Dover Bay decreased to 1,253 from 1,284.
Blain said there’s a migration of students back to the Cedar area and the school district is being “a little tighter” on student movement so it can control and understand the ebb and flow for staffing, particularly with the Supreme Court of Canada ruling, so there have been constraints this year around out of catchment, said Blain.
The total operating dollars the ministry will give the district this year is not known. According to the Ministry of Education, Nanaimo school district received $118 million in 2016-17 for the full year.