Enrollment down a bit in Slave Lake schools

Smith bucks the trend

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

A recent story in the Whitecourt Star caught our attention. It said enrollment in Living Waters schools was down 100 students this year, leading to a corresponding drop in funding.

The story didn’t provide school-by-school breakdown of the numbers. Superintendent Jo-Anne Lanctot did supply those numbers.

Numbers at St. Mary of the Lake School are down 15 from last year – 111 to 96. At St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Academy, enrollment this year is 165, down from 187 last year, for an overall drop of 37 students.

In Slave Lake’s public schools, the change is 48 fewer students, over four schools. The biggest drop was at Lakeside Outreach, which went from 105 students last year to 75 this year. CJ Schurter’s enrollment fell this year from 490 to 469. Roland Michener Secondary School was pretty much a wash; 545 students this year to 550 last year. EG Wahlstrom is up by eight this year – 349 to 341.

Percentage-wise, the drop in the Slave Lake HPSD schools is about three per cent. For the two Living Waters schools it’s closer to 12 per cent.

And let’s not forget about Slave Lake’s Koinonia Christian School, which saw a roughly 25 per cent increase in enrollment this year. The K-12 school is at 110 students at the moment – compared to 83 last year.

So, adding all those numbers up, we have a total student population (not counting post-secondary) in Slave Lake of 1,809, down from 1,867 last year, for a decline of about three per cent.

In the only other school in the area, enrollment is up by about five. Smith School Principal Caitlynn Chernish says, “We’ve got a few more bodies, which is good!” She figures 70 students was around last year’s figure, and there are 75 enrolled as of last week.

“It’s going really well,” she says.

Enrollment is up 25 per cent at Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School.

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