With space at a premium at Kelowna Secondary school, the region's largest with more than 1,900 students, trustees have voted to create a new French Immersion program at Okanagan Mission Secondary to lessen the enrolment squeeze at KSS.

A new high school French Immersion program should be started to alleviate overcrowding at Kelowna Secondary School, trustees will hear Wednesday.


And district staff also suggest capping the number of foreign students who can attend KSS.


These are the two key recommendations put forward to deal with burgeoning enrolment at KSS, the region's largest high school with almost 1,900 students.


A 98-page report going to trustees at their Wednesday meeting presents information received during a public feedback process, outlines current and forecast enrolment at local schools, and reviews catchment area boundaries.


It concludes the most realistic way to address the space crunch at KSS is to create a new French Immersion program at Okanagan Mission Secondary, which currently has room for 300 additional students.


At the high school level, French Immersion students are required to take only two courses that are delivered in French. As a result, it will cost only between $150,000 and $200,000 to offer French Immersion at Okanagan Mission Secondary.


If trustees approve the plan, French Immersion students currently enrolled at KLO Middle School will be separated after completing Grade 9, with some directed to OKM and some to KSS, depending on where their families live. The French Immersion catchment area for OKM would match its English catchment area.


Additionally, district staff suggest capping foreign student enrolment at KSS at 75 students. Such a limit would "ensure the current structure and attractiveness of the program", staff say.


If the recommendations are accepted by trustees, district staff say KSS will not again reach its capacity limit for four years. By that time, it is possible the provincial government will have provided funding for another high school in Kelowna.