A surprise jump in student population has created pockets of pressure at several neighbourhood schools and prompted one school official to predict the end of a 15-year enrolment slump.
If assistant superintendent Karl deBruijn's prediction is true, this is the end of a trend that's existed since the Kamloops-Thompson School District was formed in 1997.
"I think we're seeing the end, I hope, of declining enrolment in Kamloops," deBruijn said Monday.
The official student population for the 2012-2013 school year won't be available until Sept. 30, but deBruijn has already erected portables at a couple of elementary schools and added classes at others.
The problem - if it could even be called that - is an unanticipated jump in kindergarten enrolment. DeBruijn estimated he'd have 900 boys and girls enrolled in Kindergarten this fall. As of Monday it was more like 1,055.
"This is really, really positive," he said. "When you have growth at the kindergarten level it sustains you the next 12 years."
DeBruijn appealed to school trustees for more teachers at a board meeting Monday night.
Parkcrest elementary principal Jameel Aziz created a split kindergarten/Grade 1 class at his Brocklehurst school when it turned out he had 48 kindergarten students instead of the 33 he'd banked on in June.
"It caught us off guard," he said.
A new subdivision in Brocklehurst has attracted several families from the Lower Mainland and Alberta, so the growth isn't a shifting of families within the city, said Aziz.
And his isn't the only school. Aziz said Pacific Way, A.E. Perry, Dallas and Westmount elementary schools are bursting at the seams, and not just at the kindergarten level.
"I think it's great news for the district," he said. "It's a positive feeling."
Westmount principal Ward Pycock added a portable in order to accommodate a Grade 3 class. In June he'd banked on having 250 students, but the number is more like 267.
He said new homes are going up in Batchelor Heights and families are moving in. This is good news for his school and others in the area.
Westsyde secondary principal Sean Lamoureux said there are new subdivisions being built throughout his neighbourhood. And that means more students.
Two years ago it was predicted that Westsyde secondary would have a population of about 650 pupils. He said it's more like 718.
"Predictions were that we'd be down, but more families are moving into the area," said Lamoureux.
As a whole, it's looking like secondary enrolment is still low in the district. But Supt. Terry Sullivan said the elementary numbers are looking good.
In the past Sullivan has predicted a levelling off of declining enrolment by 2013. He said it looks like these predictions are coming true.