Decline continues but TLDSB enrolment up from projections
Student numbers better than expected
MUSKOKA - Student enrolment continues to decline at area schools, but not quite so severely as projected last spring.
Senior administration staff with Trillium Lakelands District School Board gave enrolment updates for both elementary and secondary schools at the Oct. 9 committee of the whole meeting for school board trustees. Following actual counts of students performed at all schools on Tuesday, Sept. 4 and Friday, Sept. 7, both elementary and secondary levels were able to report better numbers than expected.
“We were projecting that we would have in our elementary schools 9,813.5 students,” Andrea Gillespie, TLDSB superintendent of elementary school improvement and elementary operations, reminded trustees. “The actual full-time equivalent number that we have is 9,898.0 students, which is a difference of 84.5 students greater than our projected enrolment.”
As the board determines staffing in spring based on their projections, the actual September numbers required some increase in staff in order to comply with Ministry of Education guidelines surrounding class sizes.
“As you can imagine schools vary in the actual number they are over and under projected,” said Gillespie, who added fluctuations were spread out across the board. “We made a decision that we were not going to take away any staff from any of the schools, even though some of the schools were slightly under, and we did make the decision that we would add three additional classes.”
As a result, Macaulay Public School in Bracebridge gained a kindergarten class, a primary class was added to Archie Stouffer Elementary School in Minden, and an additional intermediate English class was added to Huntsville Public School, an English stream kindergarten to Grade 8 and intermediate French immersion school.
In addition, Gillespie added there was also a slight adjustment in Gravenhurst where one elementary school went down in enrolment, while the other went up.
At the secondary level, Dianna Scates, TLDSB superintendent of secondary school operations and information and communications technology, told trustees there are currently 5,810 students in the seven secondary schools in the board, which is equivalent to approximately 5,700 full-time students. Previous projected enrolment was 5,461 students, which puts the board at 239 students over projections.
“Based on the way we staff our schools and based on class sizes, we needed to add three sections to Gravenhurst High School, one section to BMLSS (Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School), and one section to the VLC (Virtual Learning Centre),” said Scates, who added the five sections are equivalent to an additional 0.875 of a teacher.
The VLC is one area where the board continues to grow. It is currently offering 1,343 credits, up from 1,258 at this time last year, said Scates.
Though the numbers are better than expected, declining enrolment is still the reality for TLDSB.
“Our numbers look very good based on our projections; however, we are indeed in a declining enrolment situation,” said Scates. “Compared to this time last year we are down 278 students across the (secondary) system.”
The elementary schools in TLDSB are down 142 students from 2011-12.