As student enrollment continues to decline, the local public school board may need to make some difficult decisions about the future of some of its schools.

Senior administration with the Lambton-Kent District School Board (LKDSB) presented a report to trustees during a board meeting on Tuesday, outlining current and future enrolment demographics and financial considerations.

According to the Pupil Accommodation Report for 2020/2021, enrollment at LKDSB schools has declined 11.2 per cent over the past 10 years. Current enrollment sits at 72 percent with 8,421 empty pupil spaces.

Enrollment is projected to continue to decline an additional 221 students by 2031, according to the report.

The drop in the number of students will ultimately mean the LKDSB will receive less funding from the provincial government.

“The Pupil Accommodation Report continues to emphasize the need to address ongoing challenges facing the LKDSB, including enrollment decline and related funding challenges, as well as aging facilities while prioritizing student achievement and well-being,” said LKDSB Director of Education John Howitt in a news release

The report makes suggestions for consolidating students and closing several schools in Blenheim, Ridgetown, Tilbury, Dresden and the south Chatham area.

In one scenario, the report suggests closing Harwich Raleigh Public School, W.J. Baird Public School, Ridgetown District High School and Blenheim District High School. Students from those schools would then be relocated to a newly constructed Kindergarten to Grade 12 school, which would be located at either the Blenheim District High School site or the Harwich Raleigh Public School site.

A second scenario suggests closing Blenheim District High School, Ridgetown District High School, John McGregor Secondary School and Tilbury District High School and relocating students to a newly constructed Grade 9 to Grade 12 secondary school at a yet to be determined location.

The second scenario also suggests relocating Ridgetown District High School students in Grade 7 and 8 to Naahii Ridge Public School, and closing close W.J. Baird Public School to relocate students to Harwich Raleigh Public School in Blenheim.

As well, the report provides scenarios for closing Dawn-Euphemia Public School and Dresden Area Central School, to relocate students to other LKDSB facilities.

While the school board said it will need to address its resource and funding challenges, the Ministry of Education currently has a moratorium on school closures and consolidations in place. As a result, the school board will not be able to move forward with the proposed scenarios until the moratorium is lifted.

Since 1998, the LKDSB has closed 14 elementary schools and three secondary schools.

An accommodation review has also yet to be scheduled by the school board.