Enrolment down at Cornerstone schools, up for Cyber Stone virtual school

By Norm Park, Contracted Reporter for SECPSD

While enrolment is down slightly in the South East Cornerstone Public School Division, there are a number of reasons for the slide downward according to the division’s administration.

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Lynn Little, the division’s director of education, provided the reasons in a document she presented to the board members at their meeting in Weyburn on October 14.

“We projected a head count of 8,375 students,” Little said. “We use a head count which means each student tallies as one even though Kindergarten students, for example, are officially one-half as they attend half-time. But please note, projections were completed prior to March and the impending pandemic.”

The enrolment figures taken on the last day of September are important, she pointed out, since they are used by the government to adjust mid-year school division grants.

This school year, the adjustments have been delayed until the early part of 2021.

The enrolment number submitted to the Ministry of Education for mid-year adjustment was 8,289, a difference of 86 students compared with the projection.

Three of the division’s 38 schools witnessed increased enrolment or status quo status and that included Alameda with an increase of one, Carievale, which stayed level, and Maryfield, an increase of four.

Home-based enrolment increased significantly from a projection of 171 to an actual enrolment of 282, an increase of 111.

Cyber Stone Virtual School (CSVS) increased from a base projection of 49 to a whopping 399, an increase of 350. Much of that was the result of a major expansion of the online school to include Kindergarten to Grade 7, which had not been offered in the past.

Little pointed out that in the Kindergarten to Grade 9 grouping, there were 241 students registered in Cyber Stone classes while in Grades 10 to 12, there were 152 “base” students, meaning students who were engaged in full class programming and another 311 students taking classes that accounted for 415 total credits but are not considered base for the first semester and a full course take up.

“All other schools were down from their projections,” Little said, pointing out that two schools suffered enrolment decreases of more than 40 students while one school was listed as having an enrolment decline of between 30 to 39 students and 10 schools had losses between 20 and 29 students. Twenty-one schools had losses of 19 or less.

Weyburn Comprehensive School, with a student base of 859 now, had the largest drop in enrolment from projection, losing 48 students from their previous high of 907 students. WCS includes students from Grade 7 to 12.

Oxbow’s Prairie Horizons School fell to 370 students from a previous high of 411, a drop of 41. Arcola School dropped from 246 to 215, a decrease of 31. The division’s second largest school, the Grade 9 to 12 Estevan Comprehensive School realized a decrease of 20 students, moving from a school student population of 741 to 721.

“The bulk of the students who are not enrolled in physical schools have either enrolled in Cyber Stone Virtual School or chose home-based education,” Little said. “At this point SECPSD has not reduced staff due to enrolment changes in any physical school, and, at this point, has increased staff at CSVS from the original 7.2 (full time equivalent) positions to 20.5,” she said, in conclusion.