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Dunsford Elementary School bucking the declining enrolment trend

KAWARTHA LAKES- Some might call it the little school that could. At a time when schools are being closed due to “declining enrolment”, Dunsford District Elementary School is seeing a surge in new students. “When I started here 4 years ago, there was about 265 kids.  We are sitting at about 290 and we were up to 300 at one point last year.” Principal Greg Arkwright told Kawartha 411.

Officials say there are a number of things that could be contributing to the increase. “I have some families move into the area from the GTA based on the 407 opening up to 115/35 and wanting to move to the country to raise their kids rather than continuing to raise them in the city. Arkwright said. “We have had families move back to the area from around Canada (Nova Scotia and Alberta) to be back closer to their families. Other families have moved into our school catchment due to the availability of housing that is affordable.”
Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB)says enrolment is up overall across the board.
“In general TLDSB is up around 238 students and we’ve added 6 classrooms” Laura Blaker, Communications Officer with TLDSB said.”
With 54 schools in the board the little Dunsford Elementary accounts for about 10% of the overall increase. The board would not release enrolment numbers at the other schools.
In 2016 TLDSB said every school would undergo an accommodation review over the next five years. Declining enrolment and a decrease in funding was cited as the reason for the review.

 

Boards receive some of their funding from the Ministry of Education based on the number of students. In 2016 the school board reported it received $700,000 less than the previous year and expected the same reductions for the next few years. It’s unclear how the increase in students will impact the boards budget in the future.

The board has a capacity for about 22,000 students and in 2016 it was hovering around  15,500 students enrolled, so there’s still a long way to go.

Lady Eaton Elementary School in Omemee will be closed next year due to “declining enrolment.” The board is looking at the possibility of consolidating I.E. Weldon Secondary School and Lindsay Collegiate and Vocational Institute in 2019/2020. A number of schools have closed in Peterborough with declining enrolment cited as the reason.

Dunsford District Elementary School opened in January 1978. Character Education is a priority for staff and students with monthly themes/traits identified and serving as a focus for classrooms. Each month Character Education assemblies are organized to recognize students for their contributions and successes as they relate to the themes the schools website says.

It appears this little school is also good at fundraising. The Terry Fox Run is an annual major fundraiser in the school and a total of over $150,000 has been raised in the past 15 years.

To read more interesting articles and investigative news from the Kawarthas go to  https://www.kawartha411.ca

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Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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