The most visible evidence of enrolment pressures facing Central Okanagan Public Schools is seeing portables on school sites.
And the trend of adding more portables will continue for the 2021-22 school year, as the school district has purchased five portables for September.
The school site recipients will be Mount Boucherie Secondary (one), North Glenmore Elementary (one), Anne McClymont Elementary (one) and Dr. Knox Middle (two).
The portable total for the school district now stands at 113. Current projections show the potential to purchase six portables for the 2022-23 school year, and four more for 2023-24.
As well, with a higher than anticipated enrolment at Mount Boucherie, efforts are now underway to secure a second additional portable for Mount Boucherie Secondary.
“It is too late to order a new one now so we are investigating other solutions,” school district secretary-treasurer Ryan Stierman told the Central Okanagan Board of Education at the June 23 school board meeting.
Moyra Baxter, board chair, said she suspects while Surrey School District gets much attention and new school funding for rising enrolment issues, she feels the Central Okanagan School District faces a greater classroom space crisis.
“We hear so much about what they need, but population-wise and the number of students we have, I think we are first in the province in terms of need,” Baxter argued.
“We are among the top of the list,” responded school superintendent/CEO Kevin Kaardal.
“Sometimes it’s not good to be at the top of a list. In this case, I would rather be at the bottom,” Baxter replied.
Baxter also noted each new portable comes with a $250,000 price tag and is not equipped with washroom facilities, meaning students have to walk outside to access the main school building washrooms.
“It’s not a good situation so it’s important to get on with persuading our government to proceed with building the new schools we so desperately need,” Baxter said.
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