Registration at Rocky View Schools up 5.3 per cent
Thursday, Oct 13, 2016 06:00 am
Citing continued population growth as a significant factor, Rocky View Schools (RVS) released its latest attendance figures Oct. 6. RVS Director of Planning and Facilities Collette Winter told the Board of Trustees attendance was up 5.3 per cent, or an additional 1,145 students across the division.
“The new schools bring children in,” Winter said. “The rate of growth is still quite high compared to other municipalities in Alberta. We also know that there are young families moving into these (areas).”
Cochrane’s population increased by eight per cent in the last census to 25,122 residents, while Chestermere saw a population increase of 19,715 or 6.6 per cent. By way of contrast, Lethbridge only saw a population increase of 2.2 per cent while Red Deer’s population actually decreased by 5,000 people.
The increase brings the total number of students enrolled in RVS to 22,712.
“This is the largest number that we have gone up,” Winter said. “That’s exciting news.”
Airdrie schools saw the most growth with an additional 638 students registered. Cochrane schools welcomed an additional 289 students and Chestermere registered an additional 193 students. Beiseker/Kathyrn actually saw a decrease in the number of students attending those schools – 24 fewer students.
Winter said the opening of new schools in Airdrie and Cochrane contributed to the increases in those municipalities.
Cochrane schools’ attendance increased by 4.2 per cent in 2015-16 but has increased by 6.1 per cent for the current school year. Airdrie schools saw similar increases.
Schools within RVS remain to be well utilized. According to Winter, utilization rates in Airdrie are an average of 83 per cent.
Chestermere schools have a utilization rate of 86 per cent, Cochrane schools are at 84 per cent utilization and Crossfield schools are at 79 per cent.
“The school district needs more schools – that can be shown by these utilization rates,” she said.
According to Winter, a school is considered to be at capacity when its utilization rate is at 80 to 85 per cent.
“I know that RVS trustees have talked for a long time about our infrastructure challenges,” RVS Board Chair Colleen Munro said. “The trajectory just keeps on. New schools, new classrooms, renovations to existing schools to accommodate new students that come to us are all things we have to look after this year.”
An organizational meeting was held prior to the regular meeting of the RVS Board of Trustees Oct. 6 to elect a board chair and vice chair, and to assign trustees to various committees and boards.
With no other nominations put forward, Munro was acclaimed to the position of chair and Ward 3 trustee Todd Brand was acclaimed to the position of vice chair.