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School capacity among the issues discussed at Cornerstone board table

Some schools in South East Cornerstone are operating at close to capactiy.
stock high school classroom Dan Forer Getty Images
School capacity was discussed at Wednesday's Cornerstone board meeting.

WEYBURN - It’s all about keeping eyes, ears and attention on certain school facilities in southeast Saskatchewan.

Some of these buildings will require additions or replacements in the future, but it was the current capacity situations that caught the attention of South East Cornerstone Public School Division board members during their Nov. 16 meeting in Weyburn.

Gord Husband, deputy director of human resources and infrastructure, provided information on capacity issues as they currently present themselves at schools in Arcola, Weyburn and Moosomin.

In Arcola, the school services programs from pre-kindergarten to Grade 12. The facility has an enrolment of 237 or 222.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) since the two early years programs work on half-day schedules.

The school serves the town of Arcola as well as the communities of Kisbey and the Pheasant Rump First Nation. The building’s capacity is listed at 229, meaning that under the provincial formula, it’s functioning at 97 per cent capacity based on the FTE assessment.

“By provincial standards, the school needs to be at 110 per cent capacity to reach the threshold to include a portable classroom,” said Husband, referring to the school that is one of the oldest facilities in the division.

In Moosomin, the question of capacity involves two facilities, the MacLeod Elementary School and McNaughton High School.

 MacLeod is a pre-kindergarten to Grade 5 school while McNaughton serves students from Grades 6-12.

MacLeod’s capacity is listed as 270 and the current enrolment is 277, but it then recedes to 245 by taking into consideration the two early years programs that work on half-day schedules, making the FTE enrolment rest at 245, or 91 per cent of capacity.

McNaughton School has a rated capacity of 465 with an enrolment of 359 with no FTE situations having to be considered. It therefore is listed at 77 per cent capacity.

Husband said that education ministry officials pose the argument that reconfiguration could take place to ease the pressure on MacLeod School by transferring more students to McNaughton and therefore, it would probably not qualify for a portable classroom installation either, at least not in the near future.

In Weyburn, there are several avenues on the discussion table.

The newly opened Legacy Park Elementary School is rated for a full capacity of 590. It already has 595 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten to Grade 6 programs, or 537 based on the FTE assessments that entail the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. With that figure involved, the utilization rate is listed at 91 per cent.

Assiniboia Park Elementary School is now a dual track school, having introduced French immersion programs in their pre-kindergarten to Grade 6 programming.

This facility’s capacity is rated at 220 with 229 actually enrolled, but listed at 209, taking into consideration the two early years programs of half-days. This leaves the school with a rating of 92 per cent of capacity.

The challenge here, said Husband, is the fact there is the two-track system taking place in the building and finding space for the French Immersion programs and students has become an issue.

But, again, the high school comes into the equation with Weyburn Comprehensive School registering 898 students in Grades 7-12 within a building with a listed capacity of 1,175, or a 76 per cent occupancy rating.

Husband said the division has applied for two portable classrooms for Assiniboia using the rationale that they are needed to successfully roll out the French Immersion programs as well as the usual subjects.

They have also applied for the one portable classroom for Arcola and he noted that in the past, the additional classroom requests for MacLeod Elementary in Moosomin have been denied based on the lower capacity numbers at McNaughton High.

He said “we are not overly optimistic,” but it was felt the division still needed to be pro-active on the school capacity files to keep the ministry aware of the needs in southeast Saskatchewan.


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