Saskatoon Catholic schools log increase of more than 700 students

Saskatoon’s Catholic schools have logged an increase of more than 730 students.

In a report submitted to the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) Board of Education earlier this month, the school division said that as of Sept. 30, 2019, there were a total of 19,755 enrolled in the division. That’s up from 19,025 at the same time last year, or an increase of 3.84 per cent.

“We’re obviously very pleased with the increase in enrolment,” said Joel Lloyd, the Division’s Chief Financial Officer, adding the division is well-equipped to handle the increase in students.

Lloyd said growth over the last two years has been unprecedented. Since 2017, the division has had an increase of almost 10 per cent, or 1,676 students, with almost 1,000 students recorded last year, an increase never seen before.

John McGettigan, president of the Saskatoon Teachers Association, said public schools are also seeing an increase.

“There’s no question that the growth is really strong in both divisions,” he said.

McGettigan said there’s a lot of factors that could be at play, ranging from urbanization to immigration.

 “We celebrate the growth,`he said. “I think it’s just a good morale boost too, that we’re part of something that’s growing.”

Schools in Saskatoon accounted for the largest increase recorded in the division, as across the 45 schools in Saskatoon, an increase of 608 students was logged. Five schools outside of Saskatoon, in communities like Humboldt, Biggar and Martensville, recorded the remaining increase of 122 students.

Joel Lloyd, chief financial officer with the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, says the division is well-equipped to handle the more than 730 additional students. (Morgan Modjeski/CBC Saskatoon)

Schools that saw the most growth within the division included St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic School, St. Nicholas Catholic School, St. Thérèse of Lisieux Catholic School, Holy Trinity Catholic School in Warman and St. Joseph High School.

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation has said class size will be a focus during provincial contract talks. Lloyd said the increase at the GSCS won’t change the division’s average classroom load, which is currently 25.4 students per teacher in elementary schools.

French Immersion recorded an increase of 135, the Cree bilingual program jumped by 43 students and English as an Additional Language saw an increase of two students.

The Ukrainian Bilingual Program at Bishop Filevich Ukrainian Bilingual Elementary School was the only one to see a decrease, having lost 11 students. Lloyd said the program is still sustainable.

 “It is driven by family choice, but also immigration as well,” he said.