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‘A good problem’: Student enrolment in Mission continues to rise

Mission Public Schools has 6,273 students registered during the 2022-23 school year

Student enrolment in Mission continues to rise with hopes of reaching the peaks of the past.

According to a Mission Public Schools data report released on Jan. 24, total student enrolment climbed to 6,273 for the 2022-23 school year after the district reached over 6,000 students last year.

Mission District 75 superintendent Angus Wilson says he expects numbers to continue to rise in the coming years and eclipse the former apex of approximately 7,000 students from the late-1990s.

“Our enrolment is consistently going up every year,” Wilson said. “We’re probably getting about 120 more kids year over year. In another couple of years, we will have surpassed what it ever was in the good old days.”

Wilson says the rise in enrolment can be attributed to an increased number of people moving to the Fraser Valley from elsewhere in the Lower Mainland. Many of Mission’s schools now have no spare capacity even after adding portable buildings to several locations.

“When I started here, we had lots of empty classrooms in our schools and we were able to have other organizations and partner groups work out of our buildings,” he said. “Over time, we’ve had to ask them to leave because we need that class room for students.”

The superintendent says enrolment has risen by about 700 kids since he has been in the role.

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“That’s roughly a middle school’s worth of kids but we haven’t added a school,” Wilson said. “That puts a demand on hiring more teachers and adding more resources. It’s a good problem to have.”

The district previously implemented a cap of 150 international students and also saw a steep decline due to the pandemic. However, international enrolment bounced back in 2022-23 with 122 international students attending school in Mission.

Indigenous education rose to 1,158 students, special needs students totalled 538, and English Language Learning (which excludes international students) fell to 323 after peaking at over 350 in 2016-17 and 2020-21.

Meanwhile, the amended budget for the school year is $77,721,474 — a 4.5 per cent increase from the preliminary budget of $74,369,079.

The amended budget updates critical information from the preliminary budget and considers the actual enrolment in September, along with grant funding confirmed by the Ministry of Education.Additional funding is unavailable to the district due to too-high enrolment projections.

“We overestimated the number of new students we’d get by about 60 students,” Wilson said. “That does have a financial implication in the way of hundreds of thousands of dollars not coming in because most of our money comes through student enrolment.”

Pending no significant adjustments, the budget bylaw is expected to be updated and presented at the Feb. 14 Mission Public Schools Committee of the Whole meeting, and at the Feb. 21 meeting for adoption.


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Dillon White

About the Author: Dillon White

I joined the Mission Record in November of 2022 after moving to B.C. from Nova Scotia earlier in the year.
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