Calgary school board seeks input on how to better balance enrolment at high schools

Calgary school board seeks input on how to better balance enrolment at high schools

Calgary's public school board started a three-year process Wednesday to try to get enrolment more evenly balanced among its 20 high schools around the city.

The process is starting with a survey for parents, staff, students and community members that people can fill out from May 15 to June 9.

The Calgary Board of Education says its aim is to have high schools within the range of 85 to 100 per cent utilization rate. Current forecasts have just three schools meeting that goal in the coming five years.

Ten high schools will be operating between 100 and 150 per cent of their capacity, while seven schools will be operating at between 50 and 85 per cent.

"When enrolment at a high school is too high or too low, it affects access, flexibility and choice in terms of programming, options and extracurricular activities," said Carrie Edwards, director of property, planning and transportation.

In order to meet its utilization goals, the board might look at adding or removing programs, changing the communities that are designated to a high school, or changing the grade levels offered at individual schools, the CBE said.

From now until May 2021, there will be several chances for people to share their thoughts and ideas on how the CBE can balance enrolment among schools.

The board plans to lay out its decisions in the fall of 2021 and implement any related changes in the fall of 2022.

Bob Cocking, president of the Alberta Teachers' Association Local 38, said he and his members share the board's concerns about balancing enrolment to achieve reasonable class sizes.

"I think the board's moving in the right direction," he said.

"If we have really good working conditions for our teachers, then that means we have great learning environments for our students. That goes hand in hand."