By Cole Parkinson
While students are back roaming Horizon School Division schools, there is a minor shortfall in the number of students this year compared to what they expected.
Starting on September 4, Horizon was around 89 students below their projected 2018/19 target, though they have seen quite a few of those students return over the month of September and into October.
“We have a number of students that are off and working, assisting families with harvest. Right now, we are sitting at about 44 students below. We asked schools for bums in seats, and students actually showing up on a daily basis. We did also ask schools if they had kids come and are registered but they might be gone for two or three weeks with assisting their families with harvest, as an example. We’ve got about another 20, 21 students that are coming,” said Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools.
With school enrollments fluctuating year to year, the amount of missing kids to begin the year wasn’t overly shocking as harvest work usually plays a big factor.
While Kindergarten and high school numbers are fairly steady for this year, the biggest drop off they have seen was from Grades 1-9.
“That puts us down about 20 students, that’s probably from an Alberta funding perspective, around $160,000 less than we had budgeted for. If you look at where we are at, kindergarten actually looks like its up five or six kids overall in the division. Most of those numbers, there are 30 down in Grades 1-9 and maybe two or three down in high school. That gives you an idea of where it is,” said Tymensen.
Coming into October, Tymensen believes they will continue to see more students make their way back to school.
Both outreach and regular schools in the Horizon School Division have seen drop-offs in student numbers this year, though the number of students missing continues to shrink.
“If you look at regular schools versus outreach schools, our regular schools are down about seven or eight students and outreach are out about 10 to 12. As far as, I mentioned that some schools are down as much as 26 kids, those schools that had significant decreases have come back over the last few weeks,” said Tymensen.