On Tuesday, the province announced that they would be investing an additional $30 million to schools experiencing, 'higher than expected enrolment growth.'

"School authorities will receive $1,500 per student for actual enrolment growth between zero and 100 students and growth exceeding 100 students will be funded at $2,000 per student," the provincial press release stated.

In an emailed statement to Discover Airdrie, the Board Chair of the Rocky View School Division, Fiona Gilbert, said that RVS is grateful to the province for recognizing and providing additional financial support for the surge in enrolment growth.

"[We] look forward to learning more details about the funding RVS will receive. RVS has been advocating strongly for several years that the current weighted moving average funding does not provide adequate support for rapidly growing divisions such as RVS."

Gilbert added that in September 2023, RVS added 990 (3.59 per cent) more students into its schools than the previous year. 

"The surge in enrolment growth over the last number of years has also left RVS in urgent need of new schools, and we anticipate further funding for these projects in Budget 2024," she concluded.

Funding will be allocated to school authorities next month December through the supplemental enrolment growth grant.

"For the current school year, the supplemental enrolment growth grant has been modified so that all school authorities experiencing growth will now receive additional per student funding. In the previous school year, only school authorities with enrolment growth of more than two per cent were eligible for the grant."

For the 2023-24 school year, authorities will be allocated funding based on the previous school year or the revised formula, whichever one provides more funding.

RVS has been vocal about the over-capacity at many schools in the district, including those in Airdrie. Most recently, the division announced details of their Balancing Airdrie Student Spaces initiative, in which several potential solutions are being considered to alleviate the overcrowding of schools. These solutions entail among others:

  • Converting C.W. Perry School into a high school. According to RVS, 'This will redistribute Grade 9 -12 students across Airdrie. C.W. Perry was chosen because of its location in the city and ability to accommodate high school-level programming in its spaces. Grade 8 students stay in their current school for Grade 9, creating a more traditional Grade 10 - 12 high school model.
    • 'This minimizes the changes for families as students stay in their schools for one more year; however, it impacts the programming options our Grade 9 students currently have and increases space pressures in some schools by adding a grade. It may also require adding or removing a grade level at some other schools,' RVS stated on their website. 
  • As well as reorganizing grade structures across Airdrie schools to remove urgent pressures where possible (Kindergarten – Grade 6, Grade 7 – 9 and Grade 10 – 12).
    • 'This addresses both high school utilization and standardizes grade configuration across the community.'

“The changes being considered in this engagement touch nearly every Airdrie RVS school in some way,” Gilbert said. “We want to provide families, staff and other stakeholders with as much information as possible so they are aware of the broader challenge, see how each potential solution could impact them and ultimately provide feedback on what they think is best for Airdrie students.”

In an earlier RVS board meeting this month, the board of trustees also approved the request for 22 modular units to be sent to the province.

According to previous briefing notes provided by RVS, the request also asks for the relocation of 12 classroom units and one washroom unit.

"With no new schools across the division until 2026/2027 at the earliest, these additional modulars and modular relocations are critical to meeting students’ space needs," RVS stated. "The units are requested for schools with expected utilization rates of more than 100 per cent, based on accommodation changes and projected enrolments."

In March March 2023, RVS received 10 new modular classrooms and two classroom relocations, although the division stressed that they requested 32 new units.

"In addition, five surplus modular units were awarded to RVS on October 24 which the Province will pay to deliver and set up. If approved, these modular units will help mitigate RVS’ enrolment issues in the short term but will also increase the stress on core school buildings which will have more students than they were built to accommodate."

According to the province, over the next three years, the government is providing more than $820 million to school divisions to address enrolment growth.

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