Province increases school funding

The trend of declining enrolment in Saskatchewan schools has reversed, leading the provincial government to provide mid-year funding for divisions that saw huge increases.

Eight divisions will receive a share of $6.6 million, education minister Russ Marchuk announced in November.

While urban schools snagged the lion’s share, rural schools with higher enrolments also benefited.

There were about 2,300 more students enrolled in Saskatchewan this past fall than were expected, and Saskatoon, Martensville and Warman schools account for more than half of those.

The Saskatoon school division will receive $2.605 million, and St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Separate School Division, which includes Saskatoon, will get $1.753 million.

Lloydminster Roman Catholic separate school division received the smallest share at $146,300.

School division funding is typically announced during the provincial budget each March, when enrolment for the fall is still unknown.

The funding is based on prior year enrolment.

Marchuk said that worked well when numbers were flat or declining because the divisions had time to adjust to lower funding levels.

“Today we have a new reality where some school divisions are seeing large enrolment increases from one year to the next,” he said.

School divisions said they had to have more money to accommodate these students.

Two criteria were used to determine which divisions were eligible for the mid-year funding: an increase of 40 full-time equivalent students at the school division and one percent overall, or for individual schools, an increase of 30 students and an average of 2.5 full-time equivalent students per grade.

The new money is considered operating funding and is provided unconditionally, but it is likely the divisions will use it for instruction, resources and transportation.

The other divisions on the list were Prairie Spirit ($659,600), Prairie Valley ($547,500), Regina Roman Catholic ($561,400), Sun West, ($194,000) and South East Cornerstone ($174,700).

Marchuk also announced the government will spend $800,000 to speed up delivery of 40 to 50 new relocatable classrooms in time for next fall.

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