October 09, 2015 - 8:30 AM
PENTICTON - School enrolment in District 67 is down this year but it’s nothing to panic about yet, says School District 67 Board Chair Linda Van Alphen.
The district is down 30 students over last year, which is less than officials had anticipated, Van Alphen says, adding Superintendent Wendy Hyer noted recently a number of families were moving into the district from other provinces.
Van Alphen says she was dismayed at a recent media report that suggested Kaleden and Naramata Elementary Schools were on the verge of closing. She says Naramata has one of the largest Kindergarten classes in years.
“We’re not there yet - those two schools are in a totally different situation than other schools in the district, and receive special geographical location funding,” she says, adding declining enrolment is a province wide issue that needs more public engagement.
“We’re not at the point of closing schools. We’re looking at everything in the district right now. I’m not saying never for those two schools, but we are not there yet,” she says.
Parents who would like their kids to attend Penticton High do not have that choice available to them if they are not within the school's catchment areas, Van Alphen also noted.
Van Alphen says many of the programs at Penticton High have filled up, which has been drawing students from the Princess Margaret Secondary School catchment area.
“This year, staff has said there is no more room in those programs, so we have had to ensure the catchment areas for each school are covered,” she says, adding some parents believe their kids should be in Pen High, when they are actually part of the Princess Margaret catchment.
“There continues to be good programs at Princess Margaret, including classes in mental health and global awareness,” she says.
Van Alphen says more information about student enrolments and the district’s long range plan will be available at the school district’s public meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 14, which takes place at the IMC Building located behind the school board office at 425 Jermyn Ave. in Penticton.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015