Catholic schools hit by high en­rol­ment

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS - Dylan Short @dy­lan­short_

the ed­mon­ton catholic School di­vi­sion has seen twice the in­crease in stu­dents this year than it was ex­pect­ing.

Last June the school di­vi­sion said it ex­pected to ed­u­cate 613 more stu­dents this school year. Now that classes are in ses­sion John Fi­acco, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent of ed­u­ca­tional plan­ning, said catholic schools in the city have had an in­crease of 1,241 stu­dents com­pared to last year. that rep­re­sents a 2.9 per cent in­crease across the di­vi­sion, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of stu­dents to 44,330.

“We saw a big jump in num­bers in the Grade 12 area. We also saw an in­crease in kinder­garten, as well as younger fam­i­lies com­ing in,” said Fi­acco.

Fi­acco said spa­ces not in­tended to be used for classes, such as li­braries, are hold­ing classes. He said archbishop O’leary High School on 132 av­enue has had to an­nex space from a neigh­bour­ing ju­nior high.

“So we’re see­ing the crunch at the high school level, es­pe­cially in the north,” said Fi­acco. “We can’t see how we can con­tinue to of­fer the pro­grams to all the stu­dents in the north just hav­ing one high school in that area.”

catholic schools are not alone in their growth. ed­mon­ton Pub­lic Schools saw an in­crease of more than 3,000 stu­dents this year.

as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent Lorne Parker said the school board has grown by 30 per cent since 2011.

“We’ve been con­sis­tently grow­ing by ap­prox­i­mately 3,000 stu­dents a year. So this is our eighth year in a row where we’ve seen that kind of growth,” said Parker. “al­most all of the south is our fastest­grow­ing area and much of our growth has oc­curred there. Since 2011 we’ve grown by over 30 per cent.”

Last year 19 pub­lic schools in the city were more than 100 per cent uti­lized and 59 schools were be­tween 85 and 99 per cent uti­lized, Parker said.

the largest in­crease this year came in the form of ju­nior high stu­dents, with 1,322 ad­di­tional stu­dents. the board also saw an in­crease of 971 el­e­men­tary stu­dents, while the num­ber of kinder­garten stu­dents in­creased by 971 and high school en­rol­ment in­creased by 371 stu­dents.

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