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Overcrowding issue facing Regina Public Schools

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WATCH: Regina Public Schools is searching for solutions regarding their overcrowding. Harbour Landing School is just one of the many schools dealing with the problem.

Overcrowding has been an ongoing issue in a number of Regina schools this year, and the problem is likely to get worse.

Published earlier this month, the Regina Public School’s accommodation review showed six schools in the Queen City would likely exceed their capacity over the next 10 years.

On that list are Harbour Landing School and Wascana Plains School, both of which are already overcapacity.

Harbour Landing’s design allowed for 650 students when it was built in 2017, but enrolment numbers for 2019-20 are more than 900.

The school has already added eight portables to accommodate the increase in students, but are continuing to look for long-term solutions.

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“To have another 120 kids in that school, starting Sept. 1 in 2020…the space is physically not there,” said Adam Hicks, Regina Public School Board vice chair.

“There is no more room on the site to add any more portables or do any type of renovation.”

Wascana Plains’ is set to exceed capacity by 130 per cent this year. Like Harbour Landing, the school opened in 2017.

Judge Bryant School, Connaught French Immersion Program, Dr. L.M. Hanna School and McLurg School were also named in the report.

Hicks said the problem stems from a number of reasons including miscalculating growth estimates.

“They have to use birth rates and projections around those birth rates so we have a survey that most of Saskatchewan uses that calculates those estimates,” Hicks said.

“Obviously, in this situation, those estimates were substantially off.”

Hick said it isn’t easy dealing with overcrowded classrooms, but said the teachers are doing as best they can, given the circumstances.

“It is tricky for those teachers to modify their teaching style, having to work with larger groups and having to figure out how to break down their lessons and their plans,” Hicks said.

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“What I can reassure parents is that our teachers are focused on the children and focusing on quality education.”

The Regina Public School board is seeking solutions and have invited the public to a meeting Monday night to discuss options for Habour Landing.

One option being discussed is relocating the K-4 French Immersion program to Dr. A.E. Perry School for the fall of 2020.

Dr. A.E. Perry School has space right now, but believe it would eventually need an expansion to accommodate a growing French Immersion program.

The school board is looking at the province come budget time, hoping to receive enough money to build two new schools — one in Harbour Landing and one in the east end.

Building new schools would take anywhere from two-to-four years.

The public meeting is being held inside the gym at Harbour Landing School at 7 p.m.