Updated enrolment numbers show Red Deer Public School district show only a minor change from the first day of school, but class size remains a battle.
From the start of the school year, when the district said it had seen an increase of 250 students, enrolment has only marginally increased, growing by an additional 28 students.
“That bodes well for out district,” said Bev Manning, board chair. “There are districts across the province who are struggling to keep their students.”
As of November, the board’s enrolment was 10,902 students, up from 10,874 students in September.
More students means the need for more classrooms. Manning said their next capital project priority is either a kindergarten to Grade 8 school or a middle school in the south east part of Red Deer.
“We’re looking at Timberlands,” said Manning. “That’s our next priority. We do have some burgeoning enrolments at the middle school level. We’ll need it soon, but we’re doing alright.”
Timberlands welcomed Ecole Barrie Wilson School in 2014 and this year the public school board opened Ecole Don Campbell Elementary School in Inglewood.
Included in the enrolment update are statistics about average class across the district. Class sizes are larger than provincial targets for both kindergarten to Grade 3 and Grades 4 to 6. Classes from kindergarten to Grade 3 have an average of 20.1 students, above the 17 target set out by the province. Grades 4 to 6 has an average of 24.8 students per class, above the provincial target of 23.
It’s not until Grades 7 to 9 and Grades 10 to 12 age brackets that class size is in line with provincial targets. For middle schools the average class size in Red Deer Public is 25, which is also the provincial target. For high school the average in Red Deer is 23.9, but the target is 27.
Manning said average class size don’t always give the full picture.
“We have large band classes that can be 60 or 70 kids at the high school level and those all have to be added in to the mix,” said Manning. “It doesn’t give you a fabulous picture.”