It’s one of those good news, bad news situations.
After years of steep declines which led to the closure of three elementary schools, overall enrolment in Kitimat schools this September is exactly the same as last.
However, going forward the downward spiral will resume unless there is a significantly higher intake of Kindergarten students or and influx of newcomers in other grades.
Figures from the Coast Mountains school district show there are 605 students in Mount Elizabeth Secondary and Kitimat City High combined, three fewer than last year.
But Elementary enrolment at 584 is three more than September 2010.
However, the potential devil is, as always, in the details.
At the top end of the age scale, there are now 133 grade 12 students who will depart next June.
Which would require 133 new students if the current trend of status quo is to be maintained.
But this year’s intake at the other end of the scale, Kindergarten, was just 67, leaving a 66 shortfall in 2012 unless there is a big spike in Kindergarten enrolment in September of that year and/or a significant surge in new students in other grades.
That top-heavy student population situation is clear when you compare the average number of students per grade level in the K-7 stream and the secondary.
This year’s numbers have 605 secondary students spread across four grade levels.
That equals an average of 121 students per grade level.
In K-7 there are 584 students across double the grade levels, or an average of 73 students, just shy of 50 fewer per grade level.