While the public school board has fewer high school students this year, enrolment at two high schools scheduled to close has remained stable.
The number of high school students in the board declined by about 389 students since last year, according to a report presented to the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board on Monday night.
HWDSB High School Enrolment
2008: 18,159.25 (FTE)
But despite public resolutions to close the schools, enrolment at Sir John A. Macdonald and Mountain schools is about the same.
Sir John A. Macdonald has the full-time equivalent of 1,168.25 students as of Oct. 31 of this year. Last year, it had 1,167.25 — the equivalent of one student less. The figures show that the school's enrolment has stayed relatively stable since 2008.
Enrolment at Mountain, which serves special needs students, has seen an overall decline since 2008. In the past year, it has gone from the full-time equivalent of 173.5 students to 174.
But enrolment wasn't all trustees looked at when they studied the accommodation review committee (ARC) area that included Sir John A. Macdonald, Delta and Parkview, director John Malloy said.
The ARC includes "everything from facilities to population to programs," so it's not as simple as an enrolment number, he said.
"The 18-month process looked at everything from programming to facility conditions to enrolment. It also looked beyond just any one school, but at a catchment area. The whole ARC process, which is quite intense, looks at it through about five different lenses."
The board voted in May to close Sir John A., Delta and Parkview and build a new school in the lower city pending Ministry of Education funding and approval.
In the public board as a whole, the overall number of high school students as of Oct. 31 was 16,842. In 2011, the number was 17,230.75.
Sir John A. Macdonald
That decline shows what the board projected through its ARC processes, Malloy said.
"We knew we had a significant number of empty seats and that those empty seats would continue for the next eight to 10 years."
A few high schools saw enrolment increases. Among them are Ancaster with an increase of 47 students, Westmount with 60 more students, Glendale with 23 more students and Saltfleet with 26 more students.
Every other high school saw a decrease, including Barton, Delta, Highland, Hill Park and Parkside, all of which are slated for closure in 2015.
On the elementary side, there is the full-time equivalent of 30,882 students in the system this year. There were 31,072.5 students in 2011.
The most populous grade this year is kindergarten, which shows the enrolment trajectory is changing, Malloy said.
The Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board had 16,841.50 FTE in its elementary schools as of late October. It had 11,152 high school students.
Its largest school was St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School with 1,911 students. The largest high school in the public board is Westdale with 1,657.75 students.
The smallest high school in the public board is Parkside in Dundas with 446.24 students. In the Catholic board, St. Mary Catholic Secondary School has 1,096 students.