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Langley’s enrolment spikes again mid-year

More than 100 new students arrived between last fall and February
Langley School District buses. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance)

In the fall, Langley schools saw their biggest enrolment spike ever with the number of students in the district up by more than 900 from the year before.

With the school year still months away from ending, that number has now gone up to more than 1,000.

According to the Langley School District, 114 more students had enrolled here between September and February. That’s on top of the 917 increase recorded in the fall, and brings the total to 1,031.

The data does not include any more students who have transferred to Langley since February.

Because per-student provincial funding is calculated at the beginning of the school year, Langley will not receive any additional funding for the extra 114 students, and will have to accommodate them out of its existing budget.

The additional growth does bring more challenges around facilities, said Rod Ross, chair of the Langley school board.

“I’d rather have growing numbers than declining numbers,” he noted.

In the 2000s, Langley did see stagnant or even declining enrolment numbers, as rural schools shrank and existing neighbourhoods like Langley City, Walnut Grove, and Brookswood had relatively stable populations.

That led to schools like South Carvolth Elementary and Aldergrove Elementary shutting their doors for good.

But by the end of the decade, growth in Willoughby had ramped up to such an extent that schools there were overcrowded.

Ross noted that even now, growth isn’t even across the district, and that schools like D.W. Poppy Secondary could use a few more students, but the properties in that area are so expensive they aren’t exactly attractive to the average family with young kids.

Ross said the boom is because Langley is an attractive place to move to.

“We’ll just do our best to manage it,” he said.

The district had originally projected a “conservative” 237 additional students arriving in Langley for the 2021/22 school year.

There are more than 21,600 students enrolled across all grades in the district.

The massive jump in enrolment this school year has come as more families have been moving to Langley amid rapid growth and a COVID-inspired search for more space for families as many parents worked at home during part of the pandemic.

READ ALSO: Trustees want more schools built as enrolment rises by more than 917 students

The new enrolment numbers don’t come with data on where the new students are attending school, but if past patterns hold, they are spread across the district, with a considerable number in Willoughby, where new townhouses and houseshousing is sprouting up rapidly.

Out of the original 917 new students counted back in the fall, 564 were in the catchment of Willoughby’s R.E. Mountain Secondary.

The data comes just as the provincial government and the district have announced a new site has been purchased for another secondary and middle school in the Willoughby area. The unnamed future schools are to be built at 77th Avenue near where 210th Street will eventually run.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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