The enrolment numbers for the South East Cornerstone Public School Division are consistent with last year.
Figures released by the division show it had 8,301 students as of Sept. 30, which is up by eight from the 8,293 they had for the same date a year ago. Sept. 30 is the day in which school divisions in Saskatchewan submit their official registration numbers to the Ministry of Education, although there will be some fluctuation over the course of the school year.
“We’ve been pretty stable the last few years in terms of enrolment,” said director of education Keith Keating. “It’s good to see the numbers go up slightly and not down.”
There were 8,246 in the division at the end of the last school year.
The four kindergarten to Grade 8 schools in Estevan have a combined 904 students, up from 882 on Sept. 30 of last year. Spruce Ridge School remains the largest of the four with 383 students, up 25 from the 358 it had last year. Also up is Hillcrest School at 141 students, compared with 134 previously. Pleasantdale School dropped from 213 to 207 students, while Westview School sat at 173 students, compared with 177 a year earlier.
An increase at Spruce Ridge School was close to their projections, Keating said.
“I’m not surprised that enrolments are up in the city of Estevan at all,” said Keating. “They’re pretty close to where they were before, but they’re up slightly, and we do see an increase in both of our Weyburn and Estevan areas in particular.”
As for some of the rural communities, Midale Central School, which is a kindergarten to Grade 12 school, grew from 135 to 145 students. Lampman School, which is another K-12 school, slid from 174 to 168.
As for some K-8 schools, Macoun is at 56, down from 59, while Bienfait Weldon School dropped from 116 to 112. Lyndale School in Oungre, which is K-9, is at 59 students, compared to 55 a year earlier.
“We always see fluctuations in different communities, up and down in different years, so it’s pretty much expected a lot of those numbers,” said Keating.
A staffing contingency was put in place for some areas of the school division that saw an increase, he said.
The number of students being home schooled is down slightly, but remains around the 300 mark.
Keating said there is a level of excitement to start the school year in a normal fashion after all of the challenges that have occurred since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m excited about all of the great things that will be happening in schools across our division, as schools re-engage with communities and parents to bring them back into the buildings,” said Keating.
With the addition of some one-time funding from the provincial government to address inflation issues for transportation and other expenses, the school division is looking to use the money as much as possible to put teachers back in classroom.
“The board passed a budget on September 21st at their monthly meeting to increase staff in schools across the division,” Keating said. So between the contingency staff that we put away to help address individual school increases in enrolment, and the one-time funding, we’re looking at being able to put back at least 14 of those 21 teachers that had to be reduced as a result of funding shortfalls last yea.”
Keating started as the director of education in the summer, and he said his work has been going well thus far.
This week’s edition of the Carlyle Observer will have numbers for the Carlyle-area schools.