By Dale Bass
Kamloops This Week
Anticipating school enrolment each year is always a guessing game, based a bit on population projections, a look at how many were in classrooms last year and some basic instinct honed through years of going through the same calculation.
When they were planning for the 2013-2014 school year, school administrators projected a decrease of 227 full-time equivalent (FTE) students in secondary schools — and Kamloops-Thompson school district Supt. Terry Sullivan said he was delighted to learn they were off, with the figure now set at 205 fewer FTEs.
Rather than actual bodies, the board uses FTEs because some students take more than a full load of courses, while others take fewer classes.
At the elementary level, the FTE is up 57 from last year, leaving the district with an overall FTE decrease of 148 students.
In reality, what that means is there are about 14,000 students going to classes and, when the district’s growing distance-learning program is factored in, the total comes in at about 14,600, Sullivan said.
School-board funding is based on the number of students enrolled.
Declining enrolment was one of the reasons the district found itself closing three schools and reconfiguring others in 2009.
Sullivan said a report on school boundaries will be coming to the board next month and will likely only address one closure — the McGill campus of Beattie School of the Arts.
The plan is to turn Beattie’s John Peterson campus into a kindergarten to Grade 12 school, something Sullivan said he hopes will be possible in the next two or three years.