Catholic board plans for more schools

More Red Deer Catholic schools are going to be needed in coming years to have enough spaces for students, according to a draft copy of the Three-Year Education plan for the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division.

More Red Deer Catholic schools are going to be needed in coming years to have enough spaces for students, according to a draft copy of the Three-Year Education plan for the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division.

With the growing population in the City of Red Deer, as well as the county, a new K to 5 Catholic elementary school will be needed by September 2011 in the City of Red Deer for 300 students.

A five classroom add-on is being requested for St. Francis of Assisi to increase the school’s capacity by 120 students as of the fall 2011 and into the future a new Catholic high school will be needed by September 2013. The division is also anticipating the need for a K to 9 school in Blackfalds/Red Deer by September 2013 to satisfy a growing population there. It will all come down to receiving funding from Alberta Education.

“The economy and the times are different than they were a few years ago, but it’s our job to keep talking about that,” said Christine Moore, the chair of the Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division board. “We just keep working away at that. We’re grateful for what we have. We’ve got great schools, but we are growing and we need more.”

The Catholic school division will bring the report before the board again in May and then forward it on to Alberta Education.

Also as part of the report, it is noted that recruitment and hiring of French immersion teachers continues to be an issue for the school division.

“It’s very challenging in Alberta to get those and we’re not alone as a school division,” Moore said. “It’s more complicated for us because we do require Catholic teachers. So we’ve got a double requirement. But we’re always working on it. We go to a lot of employment fairs and we’re always promoting that.”

She said the hope is that more of the students who have gone through the immersion programs in the Red Deer Regional Catholic School Division will continue to return eventually as teachers, as has happened in the past.

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com