School district bracing for baby boom

If early indicators are correct, Chilliwack school district will be recording its largest kindergarten class come September.

Which poses some difficulties.

The current school year has 841 total kindergarten students registered, and already some schools, like Tyson elementary, Vedder elementary and Sardis elementary, require portables to accommodate the increase in full-day kindergarten students.

Next year, projections show an increase of 100 more kindergarten students.

“It’s going to be our biggest kindergarten class ever,” said district superintendent Corinne McCabe.

McCabe credits the increase to a boom of children born in Chilliwack five years ago, and to an increase in young families migrating to the area.

Chilliwack General Hospital delivered 962 babies in 2006.

The district expects to be at capacity for schools on the Sardis side within the next five to six years.

“We are going to be tight on the south side and it’s going to continue to get more challenging over the next several years, particularly at the elementary level,” said McCabe.

The district has put out a request for proposals on a 10-year facility plan to figure out how to accommodate all students over the next 10 years. McCabe said the district was also looking at more short-term remedies, but couldn’t yet confirm what they were.

“We’re just sort of in the process of deciding where we go for the fall and looking at how we manage enrollments over the short term and the long term,” said McCabe.

kbartel@theprogress.com