EFI gets support from out of district

Chilliwack's new early French immersion program is expected to amass nearly $83,000 in student funding the school district otherwise wouldn't have received.

A report that will be presented at Tuesday's school board meeting shows the breakdown of where registrants for early French immersion (EFI) came from. The largest grouping was those from out of district, which had six registered in kindergarten and six in Grade 1, amounting to 18 per cent of all registrants.

With the provincial government's per student funding at $6,900, that totals an extra $82,800 for the school district.

"We're really pleased we got the support both from current parents as well as externally," said district superintendent Evelyn Novak.

Novak would not yet disclose a breakdown of where those out-of-district students came from, as parents have until Feb. 7 to confirm their child's placement in the program. However, she did note that several were students who already live in Chilliwack, but had sought French immersion in other nearby school districts.

"These are people who are saying they wouldn't have registered in our district, but because we have early French immersion now, they will be," said Novak.

"It certainly bodes well that we have such a strong showing for two kindergarten classes right off the get-go."

The next largest grouping of students came from Cheam elementary, where the program will be housed, at nine students (five in kindergarten, four in Grade 1) and six at Watson elementary, all in kindergarten.

The majority of in-district students came from the north side at 32, with the south side having 22 registrants.

With a total of 66 registrants, the school district will be offering two full kindergarten classes and one full Grade 1 class.

"It gives us a great deal of confidence that we, in fact, did make the correct decision (in approving an EFI program)," said school board chair Walt Krahn.

"I am very, very pleased there will be some students who will, in fact, be attending a Chilliwack school because we're offering a program that they are pleased to support."

Early French immersion starts in September 2014 at Cheam elementary.

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