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DDSB report shows board will need to increase space investments to accommodate enrolment uptick


DAN CEARNS The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: A new report has found the Durham District School Board (DDSB) has been seeing a steady increase in enrolment during the later pandemic years.

At a board meeting on Monday, September 18th, trustees saw an updated Pupil Accommodation plan.

“Trends, over the past four years have shown an influx of growth, resulting in new students attending DDSB schools. New growth and regeneration of mature neighbourhoods, to date, have equated to a 6.4 percent increase in DDSB’s 2022-2023 enrolments, compared to the 2019-2020 enrolments. Durham Region is projected to continue to grow: through the expansion of urban settlement areas; the redevelopment and infill within the existing developed areas; and through Provincial initiatives, such as Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022.”

Using projections, the report found, from “2022-2023 through to the 2026-2027 school year, there are more students than available permanent capacity,” in terms of elementary schools.

For secondary schools, the DDSB anticipates, “enrolment pressures will continue from new development and student growth, along with the regeneration of mature communities across the district.”

There are currently five elementary schools and one secondary DDSB school in both Scugog and Uxbridge. Brock has four elementary schools and one secondary school. Although that number will be reduced to three once construction of Beaver River PS in Beaverton is completed to replace Beaverton PS and Thorah Central PS. The new school is expected to open in September of 2024.

Looking at the potential future in these communities, the report found enrolment to be mostly stable in North Durham.

“Uxbridge [Secondary School] is projected to see a decline in enrolment through to 2027. This is the sole secondary school supporting this community. Staff will continue to monitor the enrolment and will continue to explore opportunities for future growth, potential partnerships, boundary adjustments or the relocation of specialized programs, to utilize the surplus space [which] becomes available,” the report noted.

In terms of Scugog, the report noted, there is “surplus capacity at both Cartwright Central Public School and Port Perry High School.”

In Brock Township, the board is also looking at how they can best utilize surplus space.

“At the secondary level, staff will monitor the enrolment at Brock High School, for future potential partnerships, boundary adjustments or the relocation of specialized programs, to utilize the surplus space available,” the report stated.

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