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Regina school 'bulging at the seams' as funding shortfall looms

Members of the Argyle School Community Council (ASCC) are worried current classroom capacity issues will only be compounded by provincial funding shortfalls expected in the next school year.

The new Argyle Elementary School opened up earlier this spring in Regina, and according to the ASCC, it is already on track to face overcapacity issues as early as September when 100 students from Ethel Milliken move to Argyle as part of a boundary change.

“We just got into this brand new, beautiful school and they’re already talking about having to lose some of the wonderful amenities and rooms that they had built,” said Staci Filyk, a parent on the ASCC.

In September, she said two multipurpose rooms and the library will have to be converted into classrooms. The same thing could eventually happen to the art and music rooms.

“Some classrooms are already too big,” she said.

“When there’s already those concerns or issues, then I think when things are getting cut or moved around or you’re losing funding then that just makes it worse.”

The new school is already “bulging at the seams,” according to Regina Public School Board trustee Adam Hicks.

Hicks spoke to a room of about 30 frustrated parents on Monday night, during an information session at Argyle School.

He said school divisions don’t get to decide how big to make the schools. The division submits a proposal to the government, but ultimately it’s up to the province to make the final call.

Hicks said both capital and operating funding are lacking in the province’s 2023-24 budget. The Regina Public School Division put in requests for three new schools, none of which were awarded capital funding.

“It’s great that we have growth, but we need the capital behind it from the province to meet that growth and match it,” Hicks said.


According to the Regina Public School Board, the division is receiving a 1.5 per cent increase in operating funding through the 2023-24 provincial budget. However, the division needs a three per cent increase just to maintain the status quo.

“We have to make a 1.5 per cent cut to our entire operational budget and when we’re looking at 3,000 staff and 25,000 students that is a lot of impact at 1.5 per cent,” Hicks said.

Per student funding is lower than it was nine years ago, Hicks added, and the division has depleted much of its unrestricted reserves due to the accumulation of multiple years of funding shortfalls.

“In 2017, we made substantial cuts across our division. We are facing that same type of budget this year,” Hicks said.

In the 2017-18 budget, Regina Public Schools had to eliminate 22 classroom positions, among other staffing cuts in the division offices. As a result, the division moved kindergarten to full days and made cuts to busing.

The board has yet to finalize its budget for next school year, but Hicks said there will be impacts to staffing, transportation and other spending.

While staff won’t lose their jobs, Hicks said vacant positions created through retirements and resignations will likely not be filled.

The division is also making changes to lunchtime supervision.

In September, every student who stays at school over the noon hour will be charged an increased fee for supervision.

Kindergarten and high school students will each pay $55 per year, while elementary students will be charged $110. Families will be capped at $220.

On top of the fee increase, Hicks said the division will likely reduce supervision staffing. The changes will cover roughly 20 per cent of the overall supervision costs.

“We are looking for every penny we can find right now,” Hicks said.

The province has previously said it will provide additional funding for school divisions, on top of what was announced in the provincial budget.

However, the Regina Public School Division said it has to draft its own budget for next year as if no extra money is coming.

Hicks is encouraging parents to contact their local MLAs with their concerns, in the hopes that the provincial government can do more to lessen the blow.

The school board will look to finalize its 2023-24 budget at its next meeting on June 13. Top Stories

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