December 4, 2018 7:49 pm
Updated: December 4, 2018 8:29 pm

Crowded classrooms a growing concern for Calgary school boards

WATCH: Crowded classrooms continue to be a growing concern for Calgary schools. As Jill Croteau reports, the latest enrollment numbers show this may only be the beginning.

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The latest student enrollment numbers within both the public and Catholic school boards in Calgary show a steady incline with the pressures only predicted to increase.

This year alone, the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) has recorded an increase of 1,729 students.

Trustee Lisa Davis said officials are trying to get ahead of the growth by advance planning for high schools.

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“We know we have a number of high schools overcapacity,” Davis said. “We’ve opened 28 schools since 2015 and 2016 — all but one have been K-9 and we have pressures coming.”

Out of 226 schools in the CBE, 40 are considered overcapacity.

There are plans in the works for a high school in northeast Calgary, but there has yet to be a funding commitment by the province.

“We are using every available space,” Davis said.

“Some schools use a library as a regular classroom,” she added. “It’s why when we do our three-year capital plan, we need to make sure schools are approved and built when needed.”

Davis brought the issue forward at a public board meeting on Tuesday, suggesting that simply modernizing older schools isn’t enough.

“It really isn’t,” Davis said. “We have had continued enrollment growth and we grew again just under two per cent this year. These children need somewhere to go and we have a crunch coming for high schools.”

Figures obtained by Global News from the Calgary Catholic School District revealed 51 schools out of 115 are considered overcapacity.

Both public and Catholic districts aim for 85 per cent capacity, but some schools report a capacity as high as 125 per cent.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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