Enrolment below projected for schools

School District 79 now has its enrolment figures for the year.

This year’s snapshot date was Oct. 17. The district had projected full time equivalent enrolment to be 7,373 students and they came in 70 students below that at 7,303.

"That’s FTE," said schools superintendent Joe Rhodes. "That’s not head count. And there’s a whole variety of reasons why the two are different.

"Actually, we’re up about 17 students in elementary and down a little more than projected in secondary. But again, the FTE requirement at secondary is not reflective of numbers of people."

At the moment the Cowichan Valley school district’s budget is not hurt by this drop.

"Because we’re in funding protection it doesn’t affect us immediately but over time it does impact our budget," Rhodes said.

He also reported that there is some surplus money now to use for more teachers.

"We’ll be meeting with Naomi Nilsson [president of the Cowichan District Teachers’ Association] and company to have discussions on the most effective use of those funds," Rhodes said.

Trustee Mike McKay said that sometimes spaces filled with younger, less expensive teachers means that there is a little money left over.

"We’ve had to use the average cost but we have some extra dollars now to put towards class composition challenges," Rhodes said.

IF YOU are one of the many who like to attend the first meeting of the new Board of Education after every election, Bob Harper has a message for you.

"PLEASE BE advised that the inaugural board meeting of the Board of Education scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014 has been changed to Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. "THIS CHANGE is being made in accordance with the School Act which states that the earliest a board can take office is the first Monday after Dec. 1," the district secretary-treasurer wrote.