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

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.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Montreal Canadiens' Tyler Toffoli celebrates his goal past Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Toffoli scores twice, Canadiens put some distance on Flames with 2-1 win

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Canadian prop Jake Ilnicki savouring life in Seattle, looks forward to facing Arrows

Corey Conners, of Canada, hits out of a bunker on the seventh hole during the final round of the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., Sunday, April 11, 2021. Conners notched six birdies on his back nine to take the lead after his second round of the RBC Heritage on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Matt Slocum
Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Canadian Corey Conners surges into lead at PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Patrick Marleau poised to break Gordie Howe’s games record

Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada serves to Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in round 1 of the Rogers Cup women's tennis tournament in Toronto, Monday August 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Rebecca Marino propels Canada into 2-0 lead over Serbia at Billie Jean King Cup

Dalton Kellett pulls out of the pits during a practice session for the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in Indianapolis, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. Dalton Kellett is pleased his second career season in IndyCar will be different than his first, which started on an elaborate iRacing rig in his home office in Indianapolis because of COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Darron Cummings
Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada’s Dalton Kellett set for a more stable season as an IndyCar driver

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Canadian women get peek at their possible road at Olympic soccer tournament

Head coach John Tait talks to his team as Canada takes on Japan in women's sevens rugby action at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Rugby Canada says probe into complaint from members of women’s 7s team is complete

Most Read