The new school year is underway and while final counts won’t be done until the end of the month, Edmonton schools have seen an increase in students.
St. Maria Goretti in northeast Edmonton has 34 more students this year compared to last year. While it may not seem like a lot, this isn’t a new school and enrolment has been stable for years. There are now three classes each from Kindergarten to Grade 3.
“I was surprised. However, over the course of last year our numbers kept going up and up and up,” Lori McDonough, principal of St. Maria Goretti, said.
There are about 1,200 more students in the Edmonton Catholic District this year than there were last year.
“We were expecting a two per cent increase in enrolment and it came in at three per cent, just over three per cent,” Bris Radyo, assistant superintendent with Edmonton Catholic Schools, explained.
Edmonton Public Schools has already seen 3,000 more students this year over last year. That’s also a jump of about three per cent.
“This is on top of an additional 3,000 new students last year,” Michael Janz, board chair of Edmonton Public Schools, said.
“In the last two years we will have grown an additional 6,100 students.”
More kids means more pressure on existing classrooms. Next year, Edmonton Public Schools is set to open 11 new schools; the Edmonton Catholic School Board plans to open five.
“Five new schools in one year could be a record for our district,” Radyo said.
The new students are coming from beyond the Edmonton city limits. Schools are seeing an influx of kids from across Alberta, Canada and also new immigrant families. Continued growth is expected over the next 20 years.
“The growth will be predominantly in the neighbourhoods in the south and outside of the Henday,” Janz said.
Knowing all the young students will eventually need high schools, both Edmonton boards are pushing the government for more money.
The final student tally for this school year will be completed at the end of the month.
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News.