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Central Okanagan school district bucks provincial enrollment trends

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August 16, 2016 - 6:30 PM


CENTRAL OKANAGAN - It’s the kind of slow growth the Central Okanagan school district likes to see.

Enrollment projections for the 2016-2017 school year are up by several hundred students, the result of in-migration and the echo of the echo boom, secretary treasurer Larry Paul says.

“The proof is in the pudding so we’ll see who shows up for school in a couple of weeks,” Paul says. “Most districts are going down a little but we are a popular area of the province to land in right now and that brings kids.”

Paul says the echo boom was the kids of the baby boomers and this one is the echo of the echo boom. Each echo is getting smaller, like ripples in a pond, but has given rise to temporary upward enrollment blips every generation.

The district will likely enjoy a few more years like this before enrollment again turns slowly negative, Paul says.

“That is manageable growth,” he adds, pointing to the Surrey school district as an example of unmanageable growth.

“All of a sudden they’ve got a 1,000 more kids this year, they need to build three schools a year to keep up and they’re already ten behind.”

Paul says the district is tight for space and is starting to reopen some portables but should manage to accommodate all who register.

An enrollment increase of two to three hundred students would bump up the district’s student count to just under 22,000. At one point, the district had 23,000 students, Paul adds.

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