The Chinook School Division announced Tuesday afternoon during their monthly school board meeting that enrolment has slipped slightly this year.

Chinook reported as of the end of September they have 5948 students, a loss of 17 students within public schools from last year, causing a loss in funding from the provincial government.

Kyle McIntyre, the director of education for the Chinook School Division, said the school division has worked the past two years to be as efficient as they can be with their budget.

"Now we're at a place where we require sufficient funds to operate our system," he said. "You probably heard in some reports today that every dollar matters because we want to keep resources in the classroom. Although that's not a huge number of students in terms of the downside, we would like to see that increase because if we have more students that means we get more funding. The funding dollars typically follow the population."

McIntyre estimated the loss of each student equals about $12,000-$14,000 in funding which would total around $204,000 to $238,000 in lost funding for the school division compared to last year.

"Those funds aren't directly invested in every single student," he said after the meeting. "It pays for our transportation, it pays for teacher salaries, it pays for maintenance of buildings, it pays for learning resources. That's just a methodology to generate dollars to fund school divisions."

The formula for how much each school division is given was reviewed and rewritten a couple of years ago and it doesn't benefit the school division McIntyre believes.

"We think it disadvantages us as a rural school division," he told Swift Current Online. "Right now we have 44 schools that are under 100 students and so those schools are not fully utilized in terms of occupancy and space. One of the ways that we're funded in addition to student numbers is what percentage of a school is utilized. We have lots of buildings that were probably built for double or triple the student population that's in them right now, we're penalized in terms of utilization for those schools and we're funded accordingly."

Two schools inside Swift Current saw significant changes in enrolment, the Swift Current Comprehensive High School grew by 40 students and O.M. Irwin School shrunk by 41 students.

"We had a cohort at Irwin last year of grade eight students that were one of our biggest grade eight cohorts in the division, so those kids have now moved from Irwin into the Comp," McIntyre said. "So that's the reason why and really those two are a bit of a wash."

Leader Composite School saw the second biggest jump in enrolment in the school division, adding 14 students and Wymark School lost the second most students within the division, with enrolment down 23 students.

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