Thursday, July 2, 2020

Declining enrolment impacting the Public School Board

Senior administration for the Lambton-Kent District School Board presented the 2019 Capital Plan to Trustees at the Board Meeting on Tuesday, June 11.

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 21,758 students enrolled in the LKDSB in 2018-2019, which is an overall decline in the student population of 11.2 per cent over ten years.

Board projections indicate elementary student enrolment is expected to continue to decline by 679 students, which is at a slower pace than
previously anticipated.

This is mainly resulting from declining birth rates in the LKDSB’s catchment area.

However, secondary student enrolment is projected to fluctuate during the next ten years, resulting in a nominal increase of eight students.

By 2029, overall LKDSB enrolment is expected to decline by approximately 671 students.

With reduced enrolments, the LKDSB is projected to be at 77 per cent capacity for elementary schools (14,583 students) and 65 per cent capacity (7,192 students) for secondary schools in September 2019.

With the ongoing declining enrolment projections 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.

Long-term projections forecast these challenges to continue, unless additional funding is available, which will have a direct impact on programming and the allocation of resources.

“We remain focused on maintaining fiscal responsibility, while supporting student achievement. However, we expect the continued decline of enrolment and related funding impacts to have a direct impact on student programming and extra-curricular activities, particularly in our rural schools which are experiencing a significant decline in enrolment. We also have a significant number of facilities in need of renewal,” said LKDSB Chair Jane Bryce.

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.

The LKDSB has been successful in supporting community partnerships, such as the John N. Given Learning Centre in Chatham, Ont., which is home to the LKDSB’s Adult & Continuing Education program, alternative Special Education programs and local community services.

Other LKDSB sites are community hubs with libraries, child care centres and recreation facilities, etc.

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

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