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School boundary review delayed

Lower JK enrolment could mean declining trend in neighbourhood

DDSB trustees have delayed the start of an accommodation plan for a boundary review for Clara Hughes P.S. to spring 2021, due to lower than expected student enrolment.

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter

An accommodation plan to commence a boundary review for Clara Hughes Public School is being delayed until the spring of 2021.

Durham District School Board (DDSB) trustees voted to delay the accommodation plan due to lower than projected school enrolment.

According to DDSB Chief Facilities Officer Christine Nancekivell, for the 2019 school year there were 11 portables in use at the school, with enrolment projections continuing to increase. The projection for the current school year was 836 students.

However, there are only 824 students enrolled this year, 185 of which are in DDSB@Home. There are also 18 pupils attending the school from out-of-area.

According to a staff report, JK enrolment for the 2020-21 school year is 22 pupils less than projected.

“Having fewer JK pupils will have an impact on the projections moving forward,” says Nancekivell, adding the lower JK enrolment will reduce the overall number of students long-term.

She notes the reduction in enrolment could be the result of parents not enrolling their children at this time, or it could be the start of a declining trend in the neighbourhood.

“As with all schools and enrolment, staff will continue to monitor and analyze and provide updated information in the spring once the projection process for the next school year is underway and JK pre-registrations have been received,” says Nancekivell, noting staff will then have a better understanding of the future projection trends in the school community.

Oshawa trustee Michael Barrett endorsed the motion, noting it’s important the board understand whether the decline in enrolment is “noise or a signal.”

“It’s important to understand whether or not this is a signal of enrolment waves coming forward or whether this is indeed just a blip caused by COVID,” he says. “Before we put the community through a potential disruptive accommodation plan, we should wait to be able to understand if this is indeed a signal of future trends.”