Nelson’s Trafalgar Middle School. School District 8 says it will lose funding due to a drop in students next year. File photo

Nelson’s Trafalgar Middle School. School District 8 says it will lose funding due to a drop in students next year. File photo

Enrolment projected to drop in School District 8 for next school year

The district expects to lose 43 full-time equivalent students

by Timothy Schafer

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily

The school district is facing a funding shortfall next school year, a direct result of a drop in projected enrolment, which could mean fewer teachers employed.

There is a projected decline of 43.125 full-time equivalent (FTE) students for the next school year in School District 8 (Kootenay Lake), a figure that is predominantly made up of regular Kindergarten to Grade 12 school enrolment.

According to a projected enrolment report from district staff to the SD8 board of trustees, the enrolment drop would represent a significant decline in funding.

“We are estimating initial FTE funding loss of $362,230 based on our 2022/23 projected enrolment submission,” the report noted. “Plus, the potential loss of funding protection revenue of $117,000.”

The funding drop also comes with further bad news, the report stated.

“We can expect that declining enrolment projections will require reductions in teacher and education assistant staffing levels,” it read.

The projected enrolment report for 2022-23 will be submitted to the Ministry of Education and the submissions form the funding basis for the next year’s budget, which sets the base for preliminary funding estimates from the ministry.

For 2022-23, SD8 is projecting an estimated enrolment of 4,343 regular K-12 schools FTE enrolment, 26 alternate schools FTE and 301 distributed learning FTE.

“At current 2021-22 per FTE funding levels this would approximate a funding reduction of $340,040 and would not likely trigger funding protection funding,” the staff report to the board noted. “Further, within this enrolment decline, we are projecting less unique student needs.”

The preliminary enrolment numbers are used by the Ministry of Education to calculate funding for the school district, which now allows the SD8 board to begin its preliminary 2022-23 annual budget cycle.