By Marcia Love
Parents with children attending Tompkins School are relieved the school won’t be forced to close its doors due to low enrolment numbers.
The school community council was informed last school year the kindergarten to Grade 5 school would be closed in June 2016 if there were no more than 17 students attending by September.
Fortunately, the school has an increase of eight students to a total of 22 for the 2015-16 school year, ensuring it will remain open.
Liam Choo-Foo, Chinook School Division’s director of education, said no decision will have to be made regarding the closure.
“Now that they’ve come in at 22 they will operate as per any normal school in Chinook moving forward,” he stated.
“We’re very relieved,” said Reanne Hughes, a parent and chair of the SCC.
Families with young children have moved to the area, which boosted enrolment numbers just in time.
“Between a couple new families moving in and then also some of the current families’ kindergarten kids starting, our numbers increased,” Hughes explained.
She credits the Tompkins Economic Development Group that was formed two years ago with helping draw new people to the community.
“They were doing a bunch of promoting to try to encourage people to come to Tompkins, which has had some results with people moving here lately,” Hughes said, adding the school itself also put the word out. But she noted not all the new residents have children.
If Tompkins School was closed, youngsters would need to be bused to Gull Lake.
“Depending on where the child lives, it would add more to their bus ride every morning and night,” Hughes said. “So it’s nice that Tompkins (school) is open for the younger kids.”
Once students at Tompkins School reach Grade 6, they begin attending the grade 6-12 school in Gull Lake.
Tompkins School has two teachers — one teaching students in kindergarten to Grade 2 and another teaching those in grades 3-5.
Hughes noted there is one family who was drawn to the school because of the smaller classroom sizes.
“They just wanted more one-on-one time for their child,” she said.
While there were 14 students attending Tompkins School last year, Hughes said the numbers are promising for the coming years. There was only one Grade 5 student who moved on to attend school in Gull Lake this year, and most of the new students are in kindergarten to Grade 3.
“Projecting into the next four or five years, they’re looking good,” Hughes said, adding they should increase in a few years as there are more young children reaching school age.