The Surrey school district has exceeded enrolment projections for the 2018-19 school year.
During the school board meeting on Wednesday (Oct. 17), superintendent Jordan Tinney said that just before the school year started, the district “projected to be up about 700 students.”
The student enrolment numbers Tinney presented are as of Sept. 30.
“Instead, we’re up closer to 1,100 students — between 1,000 and 1,100 and there’s all sorts of details around full-time equivalent and headcount,” Tinney said. “But just know that once again, Surrey is a hopping place.”
Tinney said the district did a projected enrolment in late August.
“As a district, we want to shoot a little bit conservatively because one of the great dangers you can do is over-estimate the number of students that come in and there’s nothing that comes with greater pain than removing staff.”
He said by the projected enrolment as of Aug. 20, elementary schools in the district were actually 121 students below projections.
“But as kids and families and parents start to turn their minds toward school start up, by Sept. 4, we were 544 students over projection.”
Tinney said the district takes the month of September to do actual enrolment count.
He said that as of Sept. 30, elementary schools in the district were up about 380 students over projection.
Secondary schools, Tinney said, are a bit more difficult to track the number of students since staff isn’t doing a count on a daily basis for the first two weeks. He said kids are making huge selections around their course selection and timetable.
Once schools opened on Sept. 4, Tinney said high schools were 123 students over projections.
But once the end of the month rolled around, student enrolment was 68 student less than what had been projected. Tinny said high schools were “almost flush” with initial projections.
Tinney also said there are 804 students in learning centres.
With the swing in student populations, Tinney said that’s where challenges with portables comes in.
One example, he said, was Cambridge Elementary which came in 37 students below projection.
“If you know where Cambridge is, it’s in the Sullivan area, and to believe that Cambridge is actually going to sustain a decline in enrolment over the years would probably be a grave mistake.”
Tinney said with that staff gets into conversations about what to do with surplus portables.
“Where would be the wisdom in moving a surplus portable off Cambridge? Probably not very good.”
In contrast to that, Tinney said, two other elementary schools are up by 60 students.
“You can never project exactly where the student (enrolment is) going to fall.”