Senior Administration presented the 2021 Capital Plan to Trustees at the Board Meeting on Tuesday, May 11. The Capital Plan provides an update to community partners on the status of the Lambton Kent District School Board's (LKDSB) school conditions and demographics.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the 2020-2021 school year, as staff and students adjusted to the unique circumstances presented by the pandemic, including new health and safety protocols and revised school operations. Both elementary and secondary enrolment decreased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in comparison to the previous year. The decrease was mainly the result of students participating in home schooling for the 2020-21 school year rather than remaining within programs of the LKDSB. The influx of families selecting home schooling is considered to be directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and is not anticipated to be an ongoing trend.
As well, due to the health and safety protocols, Ministry of Education directions and local Public Health recommendations, schools have remained closed to community use indoor and rentals of outdoor school facilities during the 2020-21 school year, which has had a negative impact on Board revenues for this year.
Overall, there were 20,918 students enrolled in the LKDSB in 2020-2021, which is a decline in the student population of 11.6 per cent during the past ten years.
With reduced enrolments, the LKDSB is projected to be at 75 per cent capacity for elementary schools (14,195 students) and 65 per cent capacity (7,232 students) for secondary schools in September 2021.
Board projections indicate elementary student enrolment is expected to continue to decline by 256 students by 2031. Secondary student enrolment is projected to decrease by 65 students during the same time period. By 2031, overall LKDSB enrolment is expected to decline by approximately 321 students.
The LKDSB continues to face declining enrolment projections, which have a direct impact on funding. Unless additional funding is available, the long-term projections indicate these challenges will continue and this will have a direct impact on academic and extra-curricular programming and the allocation of resources. There also continues to be a number of facilities in need of renewal.
“The LKDSB is not immune to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and we anticipate the pandemic will continue to influence our communities into the future," said LKDSB Chair Randy Campbell. “One of the LKDSB's Strategic Priorities is “Sustainable Stewardship: Optimize human, financial and physical resources," and this directly supports the other priorities of “Student Achievement & Well-being;" “Inclusive Diversity" and “Trusting Relationships." We recognize declining enrolment will continue to have a direct impact on student programming and extra-curricular activities, particularly in our rural schools. However, we continue to focus on maximizing funding allocations and resources to best support student success and well-being."
To read the complete LKDSB Capital Plan, visit the LKDSB website.
For additional information contact:
Randy Campbell, Chair of the Board, 226-996-9717
John Howitt, Director of Education, 519-336-1500, Ext 31297
For reference information contact:
Heather Hughes, Public Relations Officer, 519-336-1500, Ext. 31262
May 17, 2021