Student enrollment higher than anticipated

The Rainy River District School Board is reporting higher enrollment numbers in its schools than projected, though overall the numbers continue to decline.
Education Director Warren Hoshizaki reported 55 more students attended elementary school on Aug. 30 than anticipated. As a result, the board is looking to hire two to three additional staff, he noted.
Though the numbers are higher than expected, enrollment in elementary is down about 30 students from last year’s enrollment of 1,701.
In the secondary panel, 44 more students than expected came to school on the first day. Secondary schools have also shown an overall enrollment increase of about 40 students from last year’s 1,330.
“That’s good news,” Hoshizaki said.
These numbers are a considerable improvement over last year, when the board saw a drop of 74 elementary and 169 secondary students from the 2003/04 school year.
The higher enrollment numbers is also good news for the board’s finances, as school boards’ base funding is allocated based on student enrollment.
Summer renovations
Also at last week’s meeting, the board heard a report from Raymond Roy, superintendent of plant operations and maintenance, on the various work done to school facilities over the summer.
Perhaps the biggest project was the complete renovation of Nestor Falls School, including replacing the tile roof with metal, installing new eavestroughs and downspouts, replacing all washroom fixtures, excavating and waterproofing the entire foundation, and painting the entire interior and exterior of the building.
“That’s a brand new school,” Roy noted.
The maintenance crew also refinished the large gym floor at Fort Frances High School, replaced worn-out carpeting at Robert Moore School with vinyl tile, and constructed a high-tech classroom and a kitchen classroom at Robert Moore.
At Rainy River High School, “the entire school was converted from electric heating to gas, including the water heaters,” Roy explained, noting this will result in substantial cost savings for the board.
“With all the construction and recent vandalism, our staff did a remarkable job to make sure the school was ready on opening day,” he added.
The former Alberton School was transformed into a much-needed maintenance and storage facility, Roy noted.
“I believe we have made significant improvements in the learning environments for the benefit of our students and staff,” he concluded.
“We’re making vast improvements in getting our facilities into really good shape,” noted board chair Dan Belluz. “We’ve made great strides.”
The board will hold a special meeting on Sept. 14, while its next regular meeting will be on Oct. 4. Both meetings will be held at Robert Moore School at 7 p.m.