Students head into a portable classroom in Chilliwack. (Greg Laychak/Black Press file)

Housing concerns prompt decline in Fraser Cascade’s student enrolment

This year saw lower than projected enrolment, likely because of families moving out of the district

Enrolment is down at schools across the Fraser Cascade School District, and a lack of affordable housing could be the culprit.

At the school board meeting Tuesday night (Oct. 15), the district released its preliminary enrolment numbers for the 2019-20 school year, which saw a decrease of 65 students across all schools in the area as of Sept. 30.

Back in April 2019, secretary-treasurer Natalie Lowe said she was projecting a static enrolment for the school district in the 2019-20 school year.

The 2018-19 school year actually saw an increase from it’s projected numbers, continuing an upwards trend in the total amount of students.

“We’re starting to see that in our numbers in Kent and Agassiz, and it’s starting to roll out to Hope already,” Lowe said back in April. “We have space right now, and we have plans to be able to accommodate more students.”

RELATED: Status quo budget expected for Fraser-Cascade School District

However, the 2019-20 school year saw even fewer students than was anticipated at the beginning of last year. Only 1,675 students are registered at schools across the district, compared to 1,740 last year.

According to superintendent Karen Nelson, the reason could be because of housing. Although families have generally been moving east into places like Agassiz and Hope to find more affordable accommodations, a lack of supply has seen families leaving the district for other places.

“There were students we did not anticipate would be leaving our district, mainly for housing issues,” Nelson said. “That’s what we’re finding in Hope in particular. Housing just isn’t being provided and sometimes it can be very difficult to find.”

This is borne out in the enrolment numbers, which saw greater decreases in Hope and Boston Bar than in Agassiz and Harrison. (Hope Secondary is down by just over 22 full-time equivalent students, compared to AESS which is down 11.)

On the whole, elementary schools saw the smallest decreases, while alternative schools ACE and TREC actually saw modest increases in the number of students this year.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Popkum fire chief urges caution after Saturday rescue from Bridal Veil Falls

11-year-old boy was stable, fire chief Walter Roos said, when delivered to a waiting ambulance

Chilliwack RCMP seeing surge in telephone-based tax scam

Victims are phoned by someone claiming to represent the Canada Revenue Agency, demanding money

Chilliwack Chiefs alum Jordan Kawaguchi named captain of North Dakota Fighting Hawks

The high scoring forward will lead UND into the 2020-21 NCAA Div-1 hockey season

Cold and wet weather has corn farmers waiting across the Fraser Valley

Usually the crop is ready July 5-12 but it’s still a few more days from perfection, says local farmer

Sources say Canada, U.S. likely to extend mutual travel ban into late August

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the possibility after a phone call with U.S. President

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

19 times on 19th birthday: Langley teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Professional basketball in Canada begins return to action with COVID-19 testing

Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, six other CEBL teams arrive in Ontario for Summer Series

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read