Declining enrolment is presenting some challenges to the local public school board.

Senior Administration presented the 2018 Capital Plan to Trustees at the Board Meeting on Tuesday, June 12.

School board officials say the Capital Plan provides an update to community partners on the status of the Lambton Kent District School Board’s (LKDSB) school conditions and demographics.

There were 21,831 students enrolled in the LKDSB in 2017-2018, which is an overall decline in the student population of 12.9 per cent over ten years.

Board projections indicate elementary and secondary student enrolment is expected to continue to decline more rapidly than previously anticipated as a result of declining birth rates within the LKDSB’s catchment area.

By 2028, overall LKDSB enrolment is expected to decline by approximately 1,099 students.

With reduced enrolments, the LKDSB is projected to be at 76 per cent capacity for elementary schools (14,470 students) and 66 per cent capacity (7,304 students) for secondary schools in September 2018.

In support of increasing overall capacity and efficiencies, the LKDSB is moving forward with the final phase of two school consolidations in September 2018: students from South Plympton Public School will be consolidated at the Wyoming Public School site and students from John N. Given Public School’s English Language Program will be consolidated at the Tecumseh Public School site.

With declining enrolment and related funding challenges, as well as the number of facilities in need of renewal, current annual funding from the Ministry of Education will not be sufficient to cover the current capital needs of the LKDSB.

This sizable funding gap is projected to increase during the next 10 years, unless additional funding becomes available.

“The projected decline in enrolment, which is expected to occur at a more rapid pace than previously expected, as well as related funding challenges and aging facilities, will force the LKDSB to make difficult decisions in the future regarding the allocation of resources. In spite of these challenges, we remain committed to supporting student achievement while maintaining fiscal responsibility,” stated LKDSB Chair Elizabeth Hudie.

Additionally, the LKDSB is committed to working with local partners, where appropriate, to maximize the utilization of its facilities and deliver programming that supports community hubs.

To read the complete LKDSB Capital Plan, visit the LKDSB website.

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