LETTER: Demographics affect enrolment

In response to your article titled, “Mission Champs Work for Future" ...

In response to your article titled, “Mission Champs Work for Future.”

I would like to first thank you for capturing the wonderful efforts of the Neighbourhood School Champions. We at the Mission Public School District feel gratitude for the proactive approach taken on behalf of all citizens in Mission. The group’s efforts are noticed and the results speak for themselves.

The area surrounding Mission Central School has been transformed and maintained by this group, and moreover, the positive attention they have drawn to this area has been noticed by all. We feel a debt of gratitude to every community member that participates in this effort and to the Neighbourhood School Champs for the effort in co–ordinating on our community’s behalf.

The article however, indicates that the enrolment at Mission Central Elementary has declined since the boundaries of French Immersion were opened.

This is not a fair statement. Enrolment at Mission Central has been on a decline since 2003. Boundaries were opened in 2013.

There are many reasons the enrolment has declined but the most glaring is the changing of demographics in this community school’s catchment area.

In most recent studies, it has been determined we can expect a further decline over the next decade given this rationale. Over this same time period, enrolment of the French Immersion program in Mission Public Schools has held its own. Given the decline in our overall enrolment, and the slight increase in the French Immersion program enrolment, it is apparent that its program is doing quite well. It must also be noted the majority of our elementary schools in our district are challenged with the same changing demographics.

Declining enrolment has been a difficult challenge for most boards in the province and in particular, our board of education since 2003. It has led to many changes in the way education must be delivered in the district in order to ensure fair and equitable education is offered to all students and that the board meets ministry of education’s requirement of a balanced budget.

I would again like to thank the Neighbourhood School Champions for their efforts.  As a citizen of this fine community I feel a great sense of pride.

Rick McKamey, Board of Education Chairperson, School District No. 75 (Mission)