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Developing Delta: Strong local schools attract employers, and employees
Employers looking to attract the best and brightest employees have a number of tools at their disposal.
Here in Delta, the strength of the local school district is being used to lure professionals and skilled workers to our community.
Jennifer Scrubb is a consultant specializing in the recruitment of physicians, and is helping coordinate the local effort to find more family doctors for Delta.
The quality of local schools is one of the many aspects of life here in Delta that Scrubb is using to attract doctors.
“We’re not only recruiting doctors, we’re recruiting their families,” she says. “We don’t want doctors coming here and leaving after two years because they aren’t happy.”
Graduation rates locally have consistently topped provincial averages. According to the Delta School District, the six-year high school completion rate for special needs students is 62 percent, while the provincial average is 49 per cent. The six-year completion rate for aboriginal students is 67 per cent, compared to 56 per cent provincially.
The district provides public education to more than 15,500 students between the kindergarten and Grade 12 level.
To run 42 different sites—including seven secondary and 24 elementary schools—which cover 202,400-square-metres of permanent and temporary buildings, it takes close to 2,000 people - 1,200 of whom are teachers.
That makes the school district the largest employer in Delta. With an annual budget of close to $140 million, 90 per cent of the district's budget goes towards salaries.
While the Delta School District has seen declining student numbers over the past decade, that trend appears to slowing, says school board chair Laura Dixon, and the district could see modest student increases in the future.
“The numbers are never going to come back to where they were when Delta was really growing,” she says. “Families aren’t as big as they used to be.”
In 2009, the Delta School Board voted to close Boundary Bay and Delta Manor elementary schools due to declining enrollment. Dixon says there are currently no plans to close any other schools in Delta.
Local enrollment numbers have been bolstered in recent years by the school district's efforts to attract students from out of district through its academy programs and international education recruiting.
Roughly 800 international students come through the Delta School District each year, representing a revenue of stream of $4.7 million last year.
The district's specialized academy programs, which allow students to spend more of their time training in sports like hockey, golf, soccer, baseball, and softball, as well as dance, film production, and acting.
"The academies have to be self-sustaining and don't generate a profit for the district," says Dixon. "But they do attract students from out of catchment."
• To learn more about the programs offered by the Delta School District, visit www.deltasd.bc.ca