SUDBURY – The Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) has received some very good news in regards to overall student enrolment at elementary and secondary schools within the board’s region.
“We have learned everything we need to know concerning student enrolment and I want to say that this is pretty good news,” stated Doreen Dewar, chair of the RDSB at a board meeting last week, following Director of Education Norm Blaseg’s report updating the trustees on the enrolment figures as of this fall. “When our student enrolment numbers increase, it represents the good work in our schools, staff, teachers, superintendents and directors, etc.”
Mr. Blaseg noted in his presentation that the importance of student enrolment numbers cannot be understated because the numbers have a direct correlation with the grants, student needs (GSN) funding, the board receives from the province for the majority of students.
“On the elementary (school) panel, we always look for the number of JK (Junior Kindergarten) students entering the system to be the number in Grade 8 who are moving on to high school. We expect to have them in our school system for 14 years,” Mr. Blaseg told the board. The same holds true on the secondary school panel with Grade 9 and Grade 12 students, he said.
“If the JK enrolment is larger than the Grade 8 numbers, that’s awesome,” said Mr. Blaseg. “In this case when we look at the JK and Grade 8 numbers we’re in pretty good shape as of October 31. We always look at the predicted enrolment and the actual numbers. This year we are 268 students above what was predicted, which means we also have to hire more (teaching) staff which is good. If you take the actual student numbers comparison for 2019 and 2018, there is a 126 difference, an increase in our number of students. So we are up 126 students (in the elementary panel overall).”
Mr. Blaseg noted the RDSB has an English panel and French Immersion panel in high school and the board is 166 students above predicted enrolment for English panel students “which is good news. The actual increase in enrollment from 2018 to 2019 is 21.” In the French Immersion panel, there has been a decrease of three students what had been predicted, he told the board. Mr. Blaseg noted that overall in the secondary panel, “we are in a good place. We’re in good shape being about 166 students above what was predicted and in a hiring position. We are quite pleased.”
The total predicted increase for the RDSB for elementary and secondary was 434. The actual increase was 147.
One board trustee said, “this provides a very favourable position for the board in terms of enrolment numbers. Hats off to the principals, teachers, superintendents and directors. At the end of the day, we can make modifications for staffing increases.”
“This is great news,” agreed Trustee Judy Kosmerly.
Mr. Blaseg said the RDSB enrolment numbers will now be submitted to the Ministry of Education and the board is expected to hear news of GSN funding in March.