The South East Cornerstone Public School Division is one of eight in Saskatchewan that will receive additional funding from the provincial government during this school year.
Education Minister Russ Marchuk announced on November 26 a mid-year funding increase for those school divisions experiencing significant enrolment increases, including South East Cornerstone.
"Today, we are responding to the challenge of growth in our school system," Marchuk said. "We heard from the school divisions that they have challenges given the unprecedented growth Saskatchewan is experiencing. This includes funding to provide education services and finding space for new students."
South East Cornerstone will receive an additional $147,700. The enrolment increase at South East Cornerstone is partially due to a jump in the number of students at the Estevan Comprehensive School.
The other divisions to receive money are the Prairie Spirit School Division, the Prairie Valley School Division, the Saskatoon School Division, the Sun West School Division, the Lloydminster Roman Catholic Separate School Division, the Regina Roman Catholic Separate School Division and St. Paul's Roman Catholic Separate School Division.
To be eligible, a school division must have an increase of 40 full-time equivalent students, a one per cent overall jump and an average of two-and-a-half full-time equivalent students per grade.
School division operating funding for 2012-13 is based on divisions' prior-year enrolments. Marchuk said this practice worked well for many years, as school enrolment numbers were generally flat or even declining.
"However today we have a new reality where some school divisions are seeing large enrolment increases from one year to the next," Marchuk said. "Today's announcement addresses this new reality in a growing Saskatchewan."
Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) president Janet Foord of Estevan welcomed the announcement.
“The SSBA has been pressing the government on this issue over the past two years,” said Foord. “As recently as last Friday, the association had written to the minister to request funding adjustments for those school divisions experiencing unprecedented growth. This position was firmly supported by all school divisions at the recent annual general meeting of the SSBA.
“We are pleased that the government is listening to the voice of locally-elected school boards across Saskatchewan. In terms of providing operating funding to ensure the growing number of students receive the best educational opportunities, and, allocating capital dollars to provide safe and healthy learning environments for children and youth, we believe this is a step in the right direction.”
The SSBA is also pleased that the government will adjust its funding formula to reflect school divisions’ current year enrolments rather than the previous year’s enrolments.
The province has also committed an additional $800,000 to implement a process that will result in 40 to 50 new relocatable classrooms, which will be added for the start of the 2013-14 school year.
"Right now, it takes about approximately six to nine months once a relocatable classroom is approved to design, build and install the classroom," Marchuk said. "We need to speed up that process to make sure that our school facilities can expand to accommodate enrolment increases."
These relocatable classrooms will be factory fabricated and constructed using a standardized design to accelerate the construction and delivery to schools most in need. Over the coming months, school divisions will be asked to provide input into the designs of the new relocatable classrooms.