With the provincial government looking into limiting class size, the school boards in charge of Ponoka and area say their classes are well within the acceptable range and neither is worried about any possible interference by Alberta Education. Black Press file

Limits to class size not a big worry for WCPS, STAR

Both school boards for Ponoka are at or under class size provincial average

With the idea floated earlier this year about finding ways to improve and track class size in schools, some school boards have issued concerns that local decision-making might be eroded.

A letter from Red Deer Public Schools (RDPS) to Education Minister David Eggen in June outlined those concerns and called for the minister to engage school boards in discussions about the best direction to go in the future. RDPS feels local boards have knowledge on the issues and would ultimately be implementing any changes.

That being said, both school divisions that serve Ponoka and area — Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) and St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic Schools — are not worried about Alberta Education taking away any autonomy from the school boards.

“The current model of targeting funds to address class size is serving Wolf Creek well, in that we maintain local autonomy to understand and address our unique classroom and school needs,” explained new WCPS board chair Pam Hansen.

“Ensuring adequate funding levels are maintained is extremely important to ensure we can provide optimal learning conditions for students.”

Hansen added that any class size funding is fully allocated by WCPS to employ teachers and ensure the division stays below or as close to the provincial average as possible.

Last year’s statistics (2017-18), provided by WCPS, bear that out with the division only coming in slightly above the Alberta average in the Grade 7 to 9 area — at 24.3 students versus the provincial average of 23.5. The other areas were all below: Kindergarten to Gr. 3 — 19.2 versus 20.2; Gr. 4 to 6 — 22.2 versus 22.8; and, Gr. 10 to 12 — 22.9 versus 23.2.

“Class size is complex in relation to class composition and degree of diversity in the classroom. For example, a highly diverse classroom of 15 students at the Grade 4 level is much different than a Chemistry 30 classroom of 35 students,” she said.

As for STAR Catholic, board chair Michelle Lamer explained the division is content with how class sizes are funded.

“The Government of Alberta provides funding to help address class size issues, specifically in the Kindergarten to Grade 3 levels. STAR Catholic is pleased with that funding model and uses it to manage pressures that may exist,” she said.

The only class size information that STAR provided was for Kindergarten to Gr. 3 at St. Augustine School for 2017-18, at 21.6, slightly above the provincial average.

On the subject of the province unilaterally taking action on class size, Hansen noted the WCPS board believes local decisions on how best to direct funds are the most effective and that current practices demonstrate that to the minister.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Calgary Police receive multiple bomb threats

Similar threats received across Canada and the United States

PHOTOS: Battle of Ponoka basketball action

The first ever senior high basketball league game for both Ponoka high schools was high energy

Guards injured, money stolen during overnight blast at Edmonton bank

Alberta Health Services said the injuries to the male guard were serious

Ponoka Elementary students team up to help KidSport

A special fundraiser has been organized by Ponoka Elementary Students to benefit KidSport

New contractor to supply Ponoka with new waste carts

Resident will need to set out old carts by end of 2018, replaces coming first week of 2019

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Coal power in Canada must disappear by the end of 2029, new regulations say

Canada has significantly cut its dependence on coal largely due to the closure of all coal plants in Ontario.

‘Naive approach’ to China at fault in Meng mess: Scheer

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on the Trudeau government to “unequivocally denounce any type of repercussions to Canadians on foreign soil.”

Omar Khadr ‘a model of compliance,’ wants changes to bail conditions: lawyer

Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr is back in court today to seek changes to bail conditions.

Most Read