school enrol 

By Alix Noble For high school students, going back to school is hard enough without worrying about whether you'll get your own desk. This spring, the Howe Sound School Board budgeted for 200 students at Whistler's new secondary school. So far enrolment has reached 315 students. The discrepancy will likely leave students with inadequate facilities and learning tools, said school board trustee Laurie Vance. Last year, in anticipation of the Whistler Secondary School which was originally to open in September 1995, the number of Whistler high school students jumped almost 58 per cent. This year, the number of students has grown an additional 67.5 per cent. Whistler Secondary will be short close to $1 million, Vance estimated, for staffing, space and equipment. "They're even teaching science in the Home Ec. room," she said. "I'm concerned that the students won't have equitable access to learning resources." The money has to come from somewhere, but with the recent financial troubles in Victoria, Vance said, there might not be any money for Whistler. "We could be having a lot of cookie sales," she said. A province-wide collective agreement ensures that the province will provide enough teachers for the number of students, but the school will likely be minimally staffed in September, until positions can be filled. "We got short-changed," said Vance. "It's just not fair to the kids. You can't open a new school and not provide funds for the number of kids that are there." On an upside, Doug Courtice, superintendent for the Howe Sound School District, said he doesn't think there will be many non-registered students showing up on the first day. "We blanketed pretty much the whole area; most people did pre-register." This will mean less re-organization and funding problems at the beginning of the year. The school board is hoping to hear in the next week if further funding for the high school has been approved.


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