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School enrolment on upswing in Kamloops

Enrolment at the elementary level continues to increase in the Kamloops-Thompson School District.

KAMLOOPS - For the first time in recent memory the Kamloops-Thompson School District may actually see a net positive count in student enrolment.

Supt. Karl de Bruijn says while they are still verifying the final numbers it appears elementary schools saw an increase of more than 260 students while secondary schools saw a decline of only 215. Even with a decline of about 50 students in adult education and distance learning programs the net numbers are looking good.

“This is better than our projections,” de Bruijn says. “We may, for the first time, be up overall.”

Enrolment at the Kindergarten level accounts for nearly 80 per cent of the increase at the elementary level (which includes students up through Grade 7) and de Bruijn expects the increase will continue at that age in coming years as well.

“We didn’t anticipate it would be up this much, it’s a pleasant surprise,” he says. “If we can get to a point where we have as many coming in as leaving, we’ll be neutral, or if we have more coming in we’ll see growth.”

While the elementary schools are seeing an up-tick in enrolment de Bruijn notes the decline at secondary schools, which is a trend that will continue for a little while yet, can be problematic because of how spread out the schools are.

“It’s still problematic,” he notes, “They’re not always in one place and rural schools are down in areas.”

Juniper Ridge, Dallas and McGowan Park Elementary schools are among the schools with significant growth this year, but are also the areas where growth was anticipated.

Growth at McGowan, Dufferin and Pacific Way Elementary schools have the district doing some long-term planning for the southwest quarter. The district has added the potential of a new elementary school in Pineview Valley to the five-year capital plan wish list to deal with growth in the area.

While final numbers are normally complete by now de Bruijn says the extended teacher strike has them playing catch up. Students returned to school Sept. 22, nearly three weeks after the intended start of the school year.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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