Schools bursting at the seams as enrollment jumps dramatically | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Schools bursting at the seams as enrollment jumps dramatically

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January 22, 2019 - 3:32 PM

KELOWNA - With about 600 more students this year, the Central Okanagan School District is “limping along” to accommodate growth as best as possible.

“We add portables to schools,” Eileen Sadlowski, the school district’s Secretary-Treasurer told “We fill up other classrooms that maybe had a little bit more room in them and we extend the days sometimes in some high schools where we have some flexibility of running courses outside the timetable.”

A report going to the district’s Finance Committee tomorrow, Jan. 23, shows there are 22,280 school age children in the district, up 469 from last year based on the latest count in December. But there are also adult learners who will be taking courses this spring, so by the end of the school year in June Sadlowski expects there to be about 600 more students.

Two new schools are being built but that may only be a stopgap if growth continues at this pace. In recent years annual growth was about 300 students a year.

“We’re good for a couple years,” Sadlowski said. “We’ll still need portables in certain hot spots over the next couple years. We're kind of limping along. We’ll maybe see that enrollment evens out a bit. There is a need for additional schools in addition to the two they’ve already provided. We’ve also asked for a number of classroom expansions.”

Grade six students are being moved into middle schools. The new Canyon Falls Middle School in the Mission will open in September. It has a capacity of 750 students but will only take 500 in its first year. That will free spaces in elementary schools.

The H.S. Grenda Middle School is slated to open in Lake Country in the fall of 2021 and will free up elementary school spaces in that area of the district.

For the most part, students can find spaces in schools within their catchment areas, although a few who would normally attend Chute Lake Elementary are now at Ann McClymont and a few from Davidson Road Elementary have been shifted to Peter Greer.

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