Thursday, 11 October 2012 09:04

Enrolment continues to decline in PRSD

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Declining enrolment continues to be a concern for Prairie Rose School Division (PRSD) officials, but it’s a reality administration has to face.

Rural populations continue to decline in Alberta and with that comes fewer students enrolling in rural schools.
PRSD officials had projected a decline in enrolment of about 30 students this school year. Those predictions were released in the spring and a preliminary budget completed based on an enrolment of 3,109 students in Grades 1 to 12 (including Hutterite Colony schools) in the division.
That number has come in significantly lower than anticipated.
As of Sept. 28, enrolment in Prairie Rose schools is sitting 102 students fewer than the 2011-12 school year with a total of 3,037 students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 (including Colony schools). That’s 72 fewer students than what had been anticipated by division central administration earlier this year.
Pat Cocks, secretary-treasurer, told the board some schools had minor increases in enrolment, while most saw decreases.
“Some schools stand out (in the decline), generally those with the more transient student populations,” said Cocks.
“The numbers are what they are. We will revise the budget using these numbers and see what we can do.”
ECS enrolment was more favourable for the division. Officials had predicted Kindergarten enrolment would increase by seven students and in fact it has increased by 16 compared to the last school year. Bow Island, Burdett, I.F. Cox (Redcliff) and Irvine all saw increases in ECS enrolment.
Superintendent Doug Nicholls pointed out it can be hard to project what enrolment may be in many schools before the school year comes to an end, especially in schools with a more transient population such as Burdett. In its predictions, officials had hoped to see an increase of 20 students in Burdett this school year, but in fact, the school’s enrolment has decreased by 15 students.
“I think 245 was a fairly optimistic number and it didn’t turn out to be that,” said Nicholls. He said on the bright side, that school still sits with a population of about 240 students, including a large ECS class of 30.
“There was a time when we met with Burdett staff and 190 was seen as a big number in that school,” he added. “Now it has 210, and with the Kindergarten about 240 students. That’s still 240 bodies in a school that was destined for closure about 10 years ago.”
Following are the enrolment numbers (grades 1-12) for Prairie Rose schools as of Sept. 28:
• Bow Island Elementary — 46 (decrease of one);
• Burdett — 210 (decrease of 15);
• Eagle Butte (Dunmore) — 460 (increase of 2);
• Foremost — 180 (decrease of 15);
• I.F. Cox (Redcliff) — 206 (decrease of three);
• Irvine — 320 (decrease of eight);
• Jenner — 26 (increase of six);
• Margaret Wooding (Redcliff) — 185 (decrease of 20);
• New Brigden — 32 (decrease of nine);
• Oyen Public — 119 (decrease of 11);
• Parkside (Redcliff) — 156 (decrease of 13)
• Ralston — 144 (decrease of one);
• Schuler — 62 (decrease of two);
• Senator Gershaw (Bow Island) — 196 (increase of one);
• Seven Persons — 217 (decrease of two);
• South Central (Oyen) — 133 (decrease of two);
• Warren Peers (Acadia Valley) — 67 (decrease of 12).

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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