Contributed photo Kindergarten to Grade 3 classes at Red Deer Public Schools have a few more students than the provincial target.

Class size targets hard to reach in Red Deer

Red Deer Public Schools recently updated its average class size

More school construction and higher per pupil funding would help reduce class sizes, say Red Deer public and Catholic school jurisdictions.

A review of class sizes by Red Deer Public Schools showed the average class size in kindergarten to Grade 3 was 20, while the provincial target is 17 students. Grade 4 to 6 classes averaged 25 pupils and the target is 23. Grades 7 to 9 classes average 27 students, missing the target of 25.

Only Grade 1o to 12 classes are better than the target of 20 students, with an average of 17.

Red Deer public superintendent Stu Henry said averages have been consistently larger by a few students for a couple of years.

He said schools receive funding to address class size, but it is minimal compared to per pupil grant funding, which has not increased for seven years.

“When we are faced with a zero per cent budget increase, which we’ve seen for a number of years now, that actually creates a shortfall of $500,000 for us.

“So every year, we’re trying to cut another $500,000, because we’ve not seen those increases year after year,” Henry said.

“As our costs are going up, and we’re not seeing that increase to the grant, obviously it’s a little bit harder to do the things we want to do.”

Public school board chair Bev Manning said without a per pupil grant increase, the district has to take money from other places to address community priorities such as mental health workers in schools.

She said when a jurisdiction gets more per pupil funding because of enrolment growth, the provincial government calls it a funding increase.

“But it’s not a percentage increase for us. We have more students we have to serve. I don’t look at that as an increase in funding,” Manning said.

Catholic superintendent Paul Mason said the division has been relatively successful in achieving classroom size targets, except for kindergarten to Grade 3.

“Physically, we do not have enough classroom space to accomplish those guidelines,” Mason said.

“By and large, the vast majority of our schools have over 100 per cent utilization currently. So all of our schools are feeling the pinch of needing extra space.”

Neither the public nor Catholic jurisdictions have heard of any potential funding increase in the future.

“All school divisions, ours as well, would be appreciative of receiving additional funding to address class size pressure points. We continue to advocate with government in that regard, and we hope to hear good news with the spring budget,” Mason said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Red Deer Catholic Regional School DivisionRed Deer public schools

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and Roland Gaviola, Iglesia ni Cristo Church of Christ district minister in the Calgary region, stand in front of the 300-plus boxes of donated food at the Red Deer Food Bank Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Red Deer Food Bank receives big donation from local church

More than 300 boxes of food were donated Saturday

Jason Aquino has been adding to his front lawn Halloween display for the past five years. “I wanted to do it big this year, because even in the pandemic, we can still enjoy Halloween,” says the Red Deer father.
Halloween spookiness rises to new level

Rare astronomical occurrence caps off a strange holiday

Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

Advocate file photo
Man awaiting murder trial facing two new trials for breaching release conditions

Quentin Strawberry going to trial in March in connection with 2019 murder

Ecole La Prairie students and teachers dressed up in Halloween costumes and paraded by Barrett Kiwanis Place, while waving at the building’s residents in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Ecole La Prairie students parade in Halloween costumes for Red Deer seniors

Dozens of Red Deer students put on their Halloween costumes to spread… Continue reading

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

Indigenous fishermen adjust lines on their boat in Saulnierville, N.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS /Andrew Vaughan
N.S. Mi’kmaq chiefs demand stop of alleged federal plans to seize lobster traps

HALIFAX — The Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs is alleging the… Continue reading

Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs speaks in Ottawa on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Dumas says he's concerned about the growing number of COVID-19 cases First Nation communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
The family of Allan Landrie, shown in a family handout photo, is disappointed the Saskatchewan Coroners Service isn’t considering an inquest into the 72-year-old's hospital death. Landrie's death in September 2019 was ruled a suicide. More than three days had passed before his body was discovered locked in a hospital bathroom in Saskatoon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
‘He was so sick,’ says daughter of Saskatoon man who committed suicide in hospital

Allan Landrie’s body was discovered three days after his death

Imagining the origins of Halloween

Long ago and far away, a small assemblage of English people gathered… Continue reading

Red Deer College president Peter Nunoda. (Photo by contributed)
Peter Nunoda: Winter term will be busier on RDC campus

In my column last month, I shared details about Red Deer College’s… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie "The Name of the Rose" at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

He died peacefully in his sleep overnight in the Bahamas

A man runs across the Carcross Dunes in Carcross, Yukon, on July 2, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘No manual or checklist:’ Yukon ditching fall time change this year

The territory decided to adopt year-round daylight time in March

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains makes an announcement regarding vaccine procurement, in Toronto, on Wednesday, Aug., 5, 2020. Despite its status as an artificial intelligence hub, Canada has yet to develop a regulatory regime to deal with issues of privacy, discrimination and accountability to which AI systems are prone, prompting calls for regulation from businesses and experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Canada crawling toward AI regulatory regime, but experts say reform is urgent

5 million images of shoppers collected without consent at Canadian malls

Most Read