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Enrolment slips slightly in Catholic school division

Enrolment is down by just 1.36 per cent in Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools but those 81 fewer students will translate into fewer dollars being put into the division's classrooms.

Enrolment is down by just 1.36 per cent in Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools but those 81 fewer students will translate into fewer dollars being put into the division's classrooms.

"This is a significant reduction for the division," said deputy superintendent Steve Bayus, Monday at the Catholic board meeting.

Kindergarten enrolment for the division was down nine per cent, with 10 fewer preschoolers registered in St. Albert schools and seven fewer in Morinville. There were three more students in the Legal kindergarten.

Sept. 30 is a critical date in the life of Alberta school boards, because that's the day they must submit to the government the enrolment figures that show how many students are actually sitting in their desks. They receive funding on a per student basis.

According to the Alberta government's basic instructional funding formula, school boards receive $6,497 per student at the Grade 1 to Grade 9 level and half that for kindergarten students. For senior high students the number is $186 per student per credit earned.

This is the second year in a row that enrolment is down at schools in the Catholic system. In 2009 the total school population was 6,044. Last year the enrolment total was 5,937 students and this September's enrolment was counted at 5,856 full-time equivalents.

Yet not all the division's 14 schools faced population drops.

St. Albert's Richard Fowler junior high had 22 more registrations than it did last year. In Morinville, Georges H. Primeau school had 14 more registrations, up 3.8 per cent from a year ago.

French immersion popular

Enrolment is also up in the Catholic division's French immersion schools, said communications manager Carol Bruineman.

"Ecole Marie Poburan saw an increase of 18 students, up 5.5 per cent from last year," she said.

Surprisingly, enrolment at the new secular school in Morinville, which is under the jurisdiction of Sturgeon School Division, did not affect enrolment that much at Catholic schools in the area, Bruineman said.

Notre Dame's kindergarten had 65 enrolments this year compared to 61 the year previous, she said. Georges P. Vanier kindergarten enrolment was down from 74 students last year to 63 registrations this year. Overall, 14 fewer kindergarten students were enrolled in Catholic schools in St. Albert, Morinville and Legal.

Protestant numbers even

School enrolment is almost unchanged — up 0.3 per cent — in the St. Albert Protestant school district, with the biggest increases found at Bellerose Composite High School, which had 91 more students than it did a year ago. Enrolment at Bellerose is now at 1,037 compared to 946 students the year before. Conversely, Paul Kane had 112 fewer students this year for a total enrolment of 1,001.

Kindergarten classes are busier in the Protestant school district as well, with enrolment up 0.8 per cent over all nine schools that have schooling at the early childhood level.

Registration in the pre-kindergarten programs in the Protestant district was up with an enrolment of 39 this year compared to 35 in 2010.

"The demographics change from year to year but overall, our district is growing — moderately, but still growing," said Michael Brenneis, associate superintendent of finance for St. Albert Protestant Schools.


In the original version of this story it was reported that there are 5,856 students in the division. This figure refers to full-time equivalents and not actual students. The actual number of students registered this year is 6,066. The discrepancy exists because kindergarten students attend for half-days. Also, the original story reported that kindergarten enrolment in the Legal school decreased by three students whereas it increased by three. The Gazette regrets any confusion this may have caused.

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