A VSB report on the impact of school choice legislation, dated October 24, 2005, indicates that there is a modest increase in applicants for alternative programs. However, the data contains some serious flaws (which are all noted in the report). Primarily they have not made any attempt to filter out multiple applications by a single student. In terms of the overall number of cross boundary enrollments they tend to be clustered where one would expect them: Montessori, French Immersion, and Fine arts. The report also notes that the majority of elementary school applications (please note that applications do not equal actual enrollments) were received at the kindergarten level (878 for the 2005-2006 school year).
The number of applications for cross boundary enrollment equals about 2.5% of the overall VSB student population (not a very large number). The actual number of cross boundary enrollments for the 2005-2006 school year were about 1200 students (about one and a half percent of the total VSB enrollment).
Elementary schools with the greatest number of applications (which ranged from 44 -Carr, to 63 -Shaughnessy) were: Carr, Gordon Jamieson, Laurier, Shaughnessy, Osler, Queen Mary. Significantly fewer students where accepted than applied. Accepted to enroll ranged from a low of 4 (Shaughnessy) to a high of 20 (Gordon).
For secondary schools the largest category of cross boundary application where from nearby schools. Fore example, Templeton will typically receive cross boundary applications from students in the Van Tech and Brittania catchment. Point grey will receive applicants from Kitsilano and Magee. The other significant point here is that most applications for cross boundary occur at the grade 7 to 8 transition. The next point is for special programs like City School or IB which have grade ten intakes.
While the data is a year old there is no clear evidence for the missing students being caused by a flight to west side schools. The majority of students, about 98% choose their neighbourhood school over other schools. In addition, the report notes that a number of cross boundary students are there due to overcrowding in their neighbourhood schools.
One further point is that the VSB has decided, as of a Standing Committee I meeting of October 24, 2005, to only collect and analyze cross boundary enrollments every second year. That means that, unless they change their minds, the VSB will not analyze cross boundary enrollments this year.