Faced with declining enrolment and fears of closure, members of the Satinwood School community continue to put their heads together to find a strategy to keep the rural school thriving.
They thought they had found the answer with a proposed modified school calendar structure targeting parents whose children were in alternative school programs outside of the Wolf Creek School Division.
But two open houses and next year’s early enrolment predictions showed there was little interest.
Now it’s back to the drawing board for the small rural school that is fighting to remain nestled 20 km east of Red Deer.
Principal Ted Jardine said the school community will continue to think outside the box for ways to boost enrolment.
Jardine said there was little interest not so much because of the alternative calendar but because there was no busing.
“Once parents find out there would be no busing coming to Satinwood, they are not going to drive kids,” said Jardine.
“And I don’t blame them.
“People did contact us and they did like the modified calendar, but they are not going to be driving their kids twice a day, 200 days of the year.”
For the second consecutive year, the board of trustees will feed the school another $60,000 in the 2012-2013 school year to help with costs.
Supt. Larry Jacobs said the board is still a couple years away before it would consider closing Satinwood and in that time, the enrolment numbers could turn around. “We’ll just see how events flow over the course of the year,” said Jacobs.
“So much depends on the demographics that the schools are operating under. If the numbers drop too low, then of course it’s hard to provide a quality learning environment.
“Given the funding model in the province, that doesn’t drive a lot of dollars for teachers.”
Over the last year, there have been several meetings held between the division, school community and board of trustees to generate ways to keep the school sustainable for the long haul.