Finding & Recommendations Population & Enrolment Trends Economics Transportation
|In 1978-79 the Leader School Division established a committee to study and report on the implications of declining student enrollments. This report outlines the implications for enrollment trends and school closure, economics, school programming, facilities and transportation, and community attitudes.|
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The opinions and recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author and may not be in agreement with SSTA officers or trustees, but are offered as being worthy of consideration by those responsible for making decisions.
This Chapter include information about Committee establishment, it's terms of reference and work program and. about the organization of this report.
That the Unit Board conduct a feasibility study into the future use of school facilities; taking into account the declining student population and studies in other areas which have been conducted in this regard. That the Unit Board set up a committee, including ratepayers at large, to report at the next annual subunit meeting. The Board of Education of the Leader School Division acted upon this resolution by establishing a committee consisting of members or representatives of the nine Boards of Trustees within the Division. The Committee first met June 27, 1978 at which time it was charged with the responsibility to report to the 1979 Annual Ratepayers Meeting and to define its own Terms of Reference.
At it's first meeting the Committee named Mr. Ed Muechel of Prelate as Chairman. Craig Melvin, Saskatchewan School Trustees Association staff member, was named as Secretary to the Committee.
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The second approach available to the Committee was to avoid debate over specific issues and direct its attention to the installation of procedures which would have some lasting benefit to the Division as future concerns and problems arise.
A decision was taken to follow the second approach for two reasons.
First, the Committee believed that if each specific issue or problem were to be dealt with by the Committee that it would never completely finish its task. The second reason for this decision was that the Committee believed that many of the specific decisions should be made on the basis of broad community involvement. For the second reason, a number of the recommendations made by the Committee call for increased community involvement in the educational affairs of the Division.
In summary, the approach taken by the Committee Was to put procedures in place which would facilitate continuing community involvement in educational decision making.
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Some leveling off of the enrolment decline will occur at the elementary level over the next few years and by 1983 or 1984 a small increase may occur. Although the Committee is reasonably confident that the major impact of declining enrolments has either been felt or can be planned for, the Committee believes that further effort must be devoted to planning and recommends that: "The Board of Education charge Boards of Trustees with the responsibility to monitor pre-school enrollments within each attendance area of the school Division. These figures to be reported annually to the Board of' Education of the Division and compiled in a report and enrolment forecast update to be distributed to each Board of Trustees."
The Committee further reviewed information about immigration and emigration within the Division and Saskatchewan generally and found that little increase in school enrolment will occur as a result o- demographic changes. The Committee further noted that if farm size continues to increase and
the number of resident operators continues to decrease, school enrolments will, perhaps, decline even further. The Committee concluded that until at least 1985-86, the Leader School Division should anticipate that 75-80 children will enter kindergarten throughout the Division.
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Correspondingly, provincial grants represented a slightly smaller portion of revenue for the Leader School Division than in the comparison divisions. The data revealed that taxpayers within the Leader School Division share a slightly greater burden in caparison to taxpayers in the comparison divisions. The Committee asked respondents to their survey to indicate their attitude toward a mill rate increase to keep small schools open. The results of the survey revealed that attitudes were fairly evenly split on the matter. Further analysis of responses revealed that younger people tended to favour a mill rate increase while older respondents were unfavourable toward an increase. In addition, it was found that respondents in Lancer, Liebenthal, Mendham, Prelate and Sceptre school attendance areas tended to be in favour of a mill rate increase while respondents from the Cabri and Leader school attendance areas were less favourably disposed to such an increase. Respondents from the Abbey and Burstall school attendance areas were evenly split on their attitude toward the mill rate increase to keep small schools open.
Examination of the Leader School Division expenditures in 1977 revealed that for the most part expenditures in the majority of the expenditure categories were about average or slightly below similar expenditures in the comparison divisions. However, the Committee noted that instructional expenditures were higher within the Leader School Division than in any of the other comparison divisions the expenditure being $1200 per pupil. Instructional expenditures had risen from a 1974 figure of 63.4 percent of budget to 69.8 percent of budget in 1977. The major portion of this increase was attributable to an increase in expenditures for professional salaries. The Committee concluded. that if any saving is to accrue as a result of declining enrolments that it will only occur if the number of professional positions is reduced. In 1978 such a decision was taken and nine positions were eliminated resulting in a reduced expenditure on professional salaries.
While the Committee viewed this decision as being sound and because elimination of professional staff positions is the most obvious and effective method of keeping educational expenditures consistent with enrolment the Committee recommends that:
"The Board of Education advise parents, ratepayers and professional staff of the possible elimination of professional staff positions within the schools of the Division. And, insofar as it is possible, such advice should be directed to parents, ratepayers and professional staff through and with the concurrence of Board Members."
The Committee generally found that the policies and practices of the Board of Education were sound. However, in many cases neither policy nor practice was well under- stood or communicated to parents, ratepayers and professional
Staff. The Committee believes that public participation in policy decisions is possible and warranted where identifiable interests of the community, professional staff and students are affected, and recommends that:
"The Board of Education develop and circulate plans and procedures far Board of Trustee, professional staff' and public involvement in the process of policy decision making, Such plans and procedures and other information about the operation of' schools Within the Division should be made known through on ongoing public awareness and information campaign."
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Over 90 per cent of the high school students graduate with more than the minimum 21 Division IV (Grades 10, 11 and 12) credits. Although the present school program adequately meets the requirements of the Department of Education, further declines in enrollment particularly at the high school level will be a continuing cause of concern. For this reason, and to guide development of local options at the elementary level, the Committee recommends that:
"The Board of Education establish a curriculum committee to include trustees and professional staff to plan for and oversee, in conjunction with Boards of Trustees, the development of local optional courses and to evaluate the effectiveness of the courses once implemented."
Although the Committee made no direct attempt to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of school programming within the Division, respondents to the Committee's survey were asked to rate programming within the Division. The survey results revealed that respondents believe that programming within the Division is fair to good. And that for the most part programming is acceptable to parents and ratepayers. As well,-the Committee believes that insofar as it is possible programming should continue to be organized in much the same manner as it is currently and recommends that:
"The Board of Education maintain its present policy of offering university and technical school minimum entrance requirements with respect to all high schools Within the Division and that where necessary, supervised correspondence course studies or other methods be employed to maintain necessary entrance requirement offerings."
In addition to reviewing programming within the Division the Committee Studied research reports and other documentation about small schools. The general conclusion drawn by the Committee was that the size of the student population within a school made little difference with respect to their academic performance. The brief presented by the Leader Superintendency Teachers' Association agreed with the conclusions of the Committee and went so far as to suggest the offering of mini-courses, 6 or 8 weeks in length, in such areas as career counselling, consumer education, and fine arts to .further enhance programming within small schools.
Community attitudes as reported in the Committee's survey, tended to favour small elementary schools, those with less than 50 students. Respondents were not quite so confident that the small high school could offer an adequate program as only 46 per cent indicated that they believed small high schools were no less effective than larger high schools.
In an effort to determine whether small schools were "expensive to operate, the Committee reviewed expenditures". '' per student for each school within the Division.
With some adjustments in expenditures to exclude transportation, Board of Education office expenditures and a number of unusual expenditures the Committee found that the average expenditure per student during 1978 was $1,332.83. As well, the Committee found that all schools within the Division, with the exception of Sceptre, operated within $100 of this average expenditure.
In view of the programming and financial information reviewed by the Committee it recommends that: "The Board of Education maintain and operate all current programming and school: within the Division so long as each school and its programs are found to be both educational and fiscally viable."
The Committee farther recommends that:
"The Board of Education visit a school and meet as a whole with the Board of trustees of a district prior to considering closure of a school.
The Committee hoped to assess student achievement within the Leader School Division however, test results stemming from a Department of Education provincial testing program did not become available soon enough to be included in the report of the Committee. However, an analysis will be concluded and reported to the Board of Education in the very near future.
The Committee did find, though, that a larger percentage of students within the Leader school Division plan on attending post-secondary education institutions than do students in other rural Saskatchewan. school divisions. Other information revealed that actual enrolment within post-secondary education institutions for students from the Leader School Division was about equivalent to actual enrolment of students from other rural Saskatchewan school divisions.
Although the Committee has little data to support its conclusion, it generally believes that students within the Leader School Division achieve at least as well as students within other rural Saskatchewan school divisions. The Committee, however, believes that a testing program should be installed in the Division and that the results of such testing should Be maintained in a central registry within each school of the Division. The Committee therefore recommends that:
"The Board of Education install and maintain a comprehensive student achievement testing program and that all students should write standardized student achievement tests at each grade level."
Such a comprehensive student achievement testing program will facilitate the evaluation of courses of study developed at the local level and should assist with individual student programming and placement decision making.
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A further analysis of bus routing and starting times revealed that the majority of early starting times result from the need to transfer high school students to a second bus for transport to Leader or Abbey high schools.
Respondents to the Committee's survey indicated that elementary children should not board a bus prior to B:00 a.m. and that high school students should not board the bus prior to 8:45 a.m. As well, respondents indicated that both elementary and high school students are affected by the amount of time spent on the bus. Elementary students are primarily affected academically and physically while high school students are primarily affected socially, in the opinion of respondents. It should be noted, too, that the vast majority, 71.4 per cent, of respondents rated student transportation as either fair, good or excellent with only 7.2 per cent of the respondents rating the transportation system as poor or very poor.
While the transportation system within the Leader School Division appears to be operating quite well overall, the Committee believes that some re-organization of the high school day at Leader, Abbey and Prelate would provide a partial Solution to the early Starting time issue and recommends that;
"The Board of Education investigate the possibility of' shortening the school day at Leader, Abbey and Prelate; in particular, by reorganizing the school day and reducing the noon Lunch break period by 15 minutes such that morning classes could begin at 8:15 a.m."
Committee members made on-site inspections of each school within the Division. Although a thorough facilities evaluation study was not conducted, the Committee found that all schools were well maintained, clean and tidy. A few problems at Abbey and Burstall are noted in the body of the report. While Committee members visited schools they discussed numerous issues with teachers and students. The Committee noted considerable effort will need to be devoted to in-service opportunities to assist teachers to overcome their concerns about multi-grade classrooms.
A number of alternative community uses for empty space within schools of the Division were identified by the Committee and by respondents to the survey. It became apparent that empty space within schools could he put to a wide range of uses and the Committee recommends that:
"The Board of Education, insofar as it is possible identify alternative uses for available space within the schools of the Division. Such a determination should be made in consultation with Boards of trustees and representatives of local community groups."
The Committee further recommends that:
"The Board of Education undertake to review the level of school based resource centre services within the schools of the Division and implement a long-term plan to raise the standards of service within school based resource centres."
In summary, the Committee has determined, on the basis of its own investigations and from information coming to the Committee by way of a survey, that educational services delivery within the Leader School Division is operating efficiently and at the same time offers a sound level of educational quality. As noted in the introduction to this Chapter, the Committee believes that community members are not well informed about the present use of facilities nor about the present objectives and level of programming within the schools of the Division. The Committee further believes, in view of the potential requirement for more active community involvement in the life of the schools of the Division, that every opportunity must be taken to inform and invite the participation of community members in the educational affairs of the Division.
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Total enrolment within the Division has fallen from 1,626 in 1973 to 1,203 in 1978; a decrease of 26 percent. 1978-79 enrolment is down 646 from the 1970-71 high of 1,849; a decrease of 35 percent. Over this same period of time (1970 -1978) the number of teachers has declined from 83 to 69, a decrease of 14. This decrease in the number of teachers amounts to 17 percent or roughly one-half the percentage decrease in the number of pupils. The result is a decline in pupil-teacher ratio from 22.28 in 1970 to 17.43 in 1978.
While these figures alone are alarming, a review of enrolment statistics aver this same period of time by grade demonstrates a further cause for concern. Table 2 presents enrolment by grade over the entire School Division for the period 1973-74 - 1978-79. This table demonstrates the "wave phenomenon" Statistics Canada and other population forecasting agencies report.
Table 2 is divided from top left to bottom right into three zones "A", "B" and "C". An examination of Zone A reveals that the 641 pupils enrolled in grades 4 to 7 in 1973 resulted in a grade 9 to 12 1978 enrolment of 474. In other words, roughly 74 percent of the pupils enrolled in grades 4 to 7 in 1973 appear in grades 9 to 12 in 1978. These figures result in an average grade enrolment (grades 9 to 12) in 1978 of 119.
In the Leader School Division and other rural school divisions buildings were built, teachers were hired, programs were implemented and instructional resources purchased to meet the demands of a certain number of high school pupils. Within the Leader School Division this number was 120 to 130 pupils per grade.
The 1979-80 and 1980-81 school years mark a transitional period for grades 9 and 10. At present there are 100 grade 7 students and 90 grade 8 students within the Division, the average being 95 pupils per grade. If all of these pupils were to progress to grade 9 and 10 over the next two years, which is not the usual case, the average grade 9 and 10 enrolment would drop from the present figure of 125 to 95; a decrease of 24 percent by 1980-81. Given current grade retention rates a decline approaching 30 percent would be more realistic.
Zone "C" denotes a further decline. For example, in 1978 there are 326 pupils in grades 3 to 6 with an average grade enrolment of 82. If a grade retention ratio of 100 percent is used the high school classrooms of 1984-85 will drop in enrollment by 31 percent. Provincial statistics indicate that roughly 75 percent of the pupils enrolled in grades 3 to 6 in 1978 will appear in the high school classrooms of 1984-85.
Using this figure an average high school classroom enrolment in 1984 will be 62 or roughly 52 percent of the 1978 enrolment.
The foregoing data demonstrate that the decline in enrollment within the Leader School Division has to date primarily affected the elementary grades. The high school classrooms within the Division will begin to feel the affects of declining enrolments in 1979 and 1980, the transitional years. The full affects of the decline in enrolment will begin to be felt in 1981 and from that point on remain fairly stable for the next four or five years.
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Using this methodology grade retention rates were computed for each grade 1 through 12 for the school years 1973-74 to 1976-77. The grade retention rates over these years were averaged and it was on the basis of this average rate that future enrolments were projected.
Table 3 compares the School !division and provincial grade retention rates. It is evident by examining the cumulative average columns that the Leader School Division falls far behind the Province in pupil retention. However, there is little to suggest that school programming is inadequate within the Division as compared to other school divisions. Consequently emigration from the School Division accounts for a large portion of this difference. Of importance too, is a gradual increase in grade retention rates from grade 9 to grade 10, grade 10 to grade 11 and from grade 11 to grade 12.
Given the inherent inadequacies of "Cohort-Survival" as an enrollment projection methodology and even more important the gradual increase in high school grade retention rates, Table 5 displaying enrolment projections should be viewed as the lowest possible set of enrolment figures. To demonstrate this statement, the 1978 projection based on 1977 enrolment figures is 4 percent low as a total enrolment figure of 1,150 pupils was projected in comparison to the actual enrolment of 1,203 pupils.
Table 4 which presents pre-school enrolment statistics for the period 1978 to 1982 by school was used to project grade 1 enrollments in Table 5. The pre-school enrolment statistics were determined by attempting to count the actual number of pre-school children ages 0 to 5 within the School Division. The figures are not necessarily accurate as has been demonstrated within the Lancer School District where a potential doubling from present enrolments may occur. Although the figures may be low, they represent a "best guess" about the present situation.
The pre-school enrollment figures combined with Table 5 suggest that a second transitional period of about four years will lead to a further enrolment by quad decline resulting in an average grade enrolment of about 75 pupils. If this situation obtains by 1990 there will be approximately 675 pupils enrolled in grades kindergarten to 8 and 230 pupils enrolled in grades 9 to 12 for a total School Division enrolment of approximately 900. If these figures were to obtain The Leader School Division would see a further decline from present enrollments of. roughly 25 percent. In conclusion, enrolment forecasts for the School Division" , do not suggest that the decline has arrived and that situation may improve but rather, the figures indicate that only a first wave of the decline has been felt and that a further decline will likely occur. Because it is of great importance that considerable effort be devoted to planning for this anticipated decline the Committee recommends that:
"The Board of Education charge Boards of Trustees with the responsibility to monitor pre-school enrolments within each attendance area of the School Division. these figures to be reported annualize to the Board of education of the division and compiled in a report and enrolment forecast update to be distributed to each Board of Trustees."
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1.The current trend of increased farm size will continue during the next decade.
2. The residency rate of farmers varied with the size and nature of their operation. High wheat operation areas with their accompanying large sized farms had low operator residency rates. Small grain, mixed and cattle operation areas experienced high; residency rates.
3. Areas of high residency and young farmer attractiveness will have population declines more directly related to the decline in birth rate than will areas of low residency and older farmers.
The Leader School division, according to Dr. Scharf's analysis, was a prime candidate for serious population decline. Farms within the Division are of above average size, the Division had the highest proportion of wheat operations of any Division in the Province (79.3 percent), and the Division had the highest non-resident rates of any division in the Province (45.8 percent). As well the Leader School Division had fewer than the average number of farm operators under 35 years of age. Taken together, these variables, namely type of operation, size of operation, residency rates and age of owner operators, suggest that the school enrolment figures for the Leader School Division will not improve.
In addition to the above characteristics of farming operations Within the Division, business and shopping pattern shifts have also created difficulties. Dr. Schazf made the following comments about shifts in shopping patterns:
1. The paving of Highway 32 has facilitated the shopping pat- tern shift to Swift Current from throughout. the Leader School Division. Those centers that have been particularly affected have been Cabri, Abbey, Lancer and Leader. The minor shopping pattern shift from Mendham and Prelate, plus the continued service to Sceptre and Rurstall have helped to sustain Leader. Portreeve has managed to maintain its position as a minor convenience centre. It would appear that if the shifts continue Cabri, Abbey and Sceptre will revert to convenience centre status and only Leader will emerge as a partial shopping centre.
Dr. Schazf did not comment on an emerging shopping pattern shift to Medicine Hat which has compounded the problems associated with the shift to Swift Current. These changes in shopping patterns have affected business centres within the School Division as demonstrated 3y Table 6.
In addition to these economic factors, fertility and the number of women of reproductive age (15 - 44) affect population growth. At present Saskatchewan together with Newfoundland has the highest Canadian fertility rate (1.7). The rate, unfortunately, is below the replacement rate of 2.0.
The projected growth of women of reproductive ages for Saskatchewan made by Statistics Canada for the years 1976 - 2001 indicate an increase between 1976 and 1981 of approximately 13 percent. Between 1981 and 1986 a further slight increase of 5 percent may occur. After that time and until 2001 the number of women of reproductive age will level off. These data indicate that the numbers of school-age children will not likely increase due -o fertility or number of women of reproductive age. In fact, the reverse may be true and particularly so if the fertility rate declines.
Since 1976 Saskatchewan has witnessed a reversal in net migration. In the twenty-five year period (1951-52 - 1975-76) net migration for Saskatchewan was minus 9.9 per 1,000 population. In the three year period 1975-76 - 1977-78 Saskatchewan experienced a net migration of 5.3. Given the potential economic expansion of Saskatchewan as a result of uranium and oil resource development the more recent trend will probably continue. However, the Leader School Division is unlikely to experience the affects of this change in net migration and consequently the number of school-age children will neither increase nor decrease as a consequence of this change.
In summary, the Committee has concluded that little increase in school enrolment will occur as a result of demographic changes. And further, if farm size continues to increase and the number of resident operators continues to decrease, school enrolments will decline even further. The demographic data appears to support the general contention that until at least 1985-86 the number of children entering kindergarten throughout the division will be in the range of 75 to 80 or fewer as occurred in 1978-79.
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In 1977 taxes represented 52.7 percent of Leader School Division operating revenue which was slightly above the average of 48.1 percent for the nine school divisions in question.
And again correspondingly, grants represented 46.4 percent of operating revenue in 1977 whereas the average was 50.4 percent. This information is included in Table 7. The average taxable assessment for 1977 in these nine school divisions was 23.3 million the high being 34.4 million and the low being 16.4 million. The Leader School Division taxable assessment was slightly above the average at 24.2 million; two school divisions had higher taxable assessments and six lower taxable assessments. Mill rates in 1977 as is-indicated in Table 7 averaged 52.6; the high being 57 and the low being 51 mills. Four school divisions had lower mill rates, three higher mill rates and one had a mill rate of 53 identical to that of the Leader School Division.
These data indicate that tax payers within the Leader School Division share a slightly greater burden in comparison to tax payers in other school divisions with respect to educational expenditures. Respondents to a survey conducted by the Committee were asked about their attitude toward a mill rate increase to keep small schools open. Table 8 reports these attitudes.
The results indicate that attitudes toward mill rate increases to keep small schools open were split. Some 36 percent were favourable or very favourable in their attitude toward such a mill rate increase, while 33 percent were negative or very negative. A significant proportion, 16.4 percent, were neutral in their response. Further analysis of the response to this question indicated that respondents in the increase. Forty-seven percent of the respondents in this age group were favorable or very favourable while 28 percent were negative or very negative. In the 36 to 45 years age group 40 percent were favourable or very favourable and 38 percent were negative or very negative. Similarly in the 46 to 55 years age group 29 percent were favourable or very favourable and 31 percent were negative or very negative.
It should be noted that the age group 26 to 55 years accounted for 67 percent of the survey respondents. Respondents younger than 26 tended to favour such a mill rate increase while respondents older than 56 years of age tended to have a negative attitude towards such a mill rate increase although those in the age group 56 to 65 years were evenly split, 36 percent being favourable and 36 percent being negative.
Responses to the survey question about attitude toward a mill rate increase were also examined according to school attendance areas. It was found that respondents in the Lancer, Liebenthal, Mendham, Prelate and Sceptre school attendance areas were in favour of a mill rate increase to keep small schools open. On the other hand, respondents in the Cabri and Leader school attendance areas had a negative attitude towards such a mill rate increase. Residents from the Abbey and Burstall school attendance areas were evenly split on their attitude toward mill rate increases.
In summary, it is fair to say that survey respondents from school attendance areas most affected by declining enrollments are those most favourably disposed toward a mill rate increase to keep small schools open. The reverse appears to be true for survey respondents from school attendance areas least affected by declining enrolments. A further examination of the Leader School Division 1977 final budget (prior to auditing) is presented in Table 9. The ten major categories of operating expenditure, "administration" through "payments to other systems", are listed. For comparative purposes the dollar:. expenditure per pupil within the Leader School Division is compared with the dollar expenditure per pupil in the comparison divisions. The total per pupil expenditure for 1977 within the Leader School Division Was $1,717.23. This amount is slightly below the average for the comparison divisions which was $3.,756.21 per pupil and well below the $1,900.58 expenditure which was the highest expenditure of the comparison divisions. Some 92 percent of the total expenditure per pupil was expended upon instruction, plant operation and pupil transportation. Plant operation expenditures were below the average for the comparison divisions and expenditures on pupil transportation were the least of each of the nine school divisions considered. 0a the other hand, instructional expenditures were higher with in the Leader School Division than in any of the other comparison divisions; the expenditure being $1,200.00 per pupil. On the basis of this information, the Committee concluded that the financial affairs of the Leader School Division were being well managed. However, concern about the high cost of instructional expenditures led to a further analysis.
Instructional expenditure categories were examined for the fiscal years 1974 through 1977. Table 10 presents the results of this examination . The Table reveals that as a percentage of total expenditures within the School Division, instructional expenditures have risen from the 1974 figure of 63.4 percent to 69.8 percent in 1977; an increase of some 6.4 percent. The actual dollar increase over this four year period approached $630,000.00.
Total professional salaries have increased as a proportion of the total budget from 55-1 percent in 1974 to 62.2 percent in 1977; an increase at 7.1 percent. Over this same period of time total "other expenditures" have decreased from 8.2 percent in 1974 to 7.6 percent in 1977.
The data clearly indicates that if any saving is to accrue as a result of declining enrolments within the Leader School Division that it will only occur if professional positions are reduced. Such a decision was taken by the Board
of Education of the Leader School Division during 1978 which resulted in a teaching force reduction of nine positions. The affects of this decision are apparent in the 1978 budget of the Leader School Division where 60.1 percent of the total educational expenditure was on total professional salaries; down 2.1 percent from 1977.
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A further exception to the foregoing is that a kindergarten program is not offered this year at Prelate. This information is reported in Table 12, Figure 1 displays this information somewhat more graphically. It can be seen that the School Division has been roughly divided in two along a line running north and south a mile or so west of Portreeve. In addition, the schools at Burstall and Cabri, due to their extreme locations within the Division, offer a relatively self contained kindergarten to grade 12 program. On either side of the north-south dividing line Leader and Abbey are becoming the major educational centres offering kindergarten to grade 12 programming. Mend-ham, Liebenthal and Sceptre provide elementary programming on the west side of the dividing line and Lancer provides elementary programming on the east side of the dividing line. The only exception to this general east-west division within the Leader School Division is Prelate School which continues to provide a kindergarten to grade 12 program. A review of present enrolment statistics indicates that Prelate may he able to continue to offer a complete kindergarten through grade 12 program to the end of the 1982-83 School year. At that point in time the number of pupils entering grade 9 will be significantly reduced and Prelate may have to revert to "feeder school" status.
The range and extent of elementary program offerings within the Leader School Division complies with the regulations under The Education Act, 1978. Specifically, those regulations are that: 32.--(4) In Division I and II:
(a) The pupil shall be taught English, mathematics, science, social studies, health-guidance, physical education, music and art;
(b) Additional courses, including a second language, may be taught with the approval of the board of education.
(5) In Division III:
(a) The Pupil shall be taught English, mathematics, science, social studies, health-guidance, and physical education in each of Grades 7, 8 and 9.
(b) In Grade 7, the pupil shall also be taught music and art and may be taught additional courses, including a second. language, with the approval of the board of education.
(c) In Grade 8:() the pupil shall be taught music and art and at least one additional course selected, with the approval of the board of education from: a second language, industrial arts, home economics and a locally developed course; or(ii) on application by a board of education, the department may approve a Grade 8 program that requires that a pupil shall be taught at least three additional courses selected from: music, art, a second language, industrial arts, home economics and a locally developed course.
(d) In Grade 9, the pupil shall be taught at least three additional courses selected, with the approval of the board of education, from: music, art, a second language, industrial arts, home economics and locally developed courses.(6)The department shall classify Grades 10, 11 and 12 courses of study in the level 10, 20 and 30 series of courses respectively, shall maintain a policy statement. describing the course numbering system, and shall determine the prerequisite-sites and number of credits associated with each course of study.(71 Subject to subsection (B), a pupil shall earn a cumulative total of 21 credits at the combined 10, 20 and 30 level in order to complete the Division IV program. As indicated, elementary school programming 's reasonably constant throughout the School Division. However, Prelate does offer French in grades 1 and 2 on a pilot basis. division III students in grades 8 and 9 are provided with industrial arts and home economics. A portable industrial arts lab is moved between Abbey and Cabri. Division III students at Prelate, Burstall and Mendham travel to Leader for industrial arts and home economics. Instruction in a second language, French in the case of the Leader School Division, is difficult to provide for all Division III students. Where ,possible though, instruction in French is offered.
At the Division IV level all compulsory subjects are offered. In addition, economics is sometimes offered at the grade 11 level, algebra is offered in all schools and geometry-trigonometry at the grade 12 level in all schools. Science 10 is offered in all schools as are chemistry and biology. Physics is offered at Abbey, Burstall and Leader. Prelate offers Christian ethics but not physics. Accounting and typing are offered as o ten as possible across the Division and credit physical education is offered at different levels across the Division. Courses in psychology, law, shorthand, consumer education and agriculture are offered depending on availability of qualified staff and opportunity within the framework of the school program.
The Committee noted that some 49 Percent of. the Division IV students are enrolled or potentially enrolled in 25 or more credit courses. The Board of Education of the Division encourages students to enroll in at least 24 credit subjects. It is important to note that only 8 percent of the students graduated last year opted for the minimum 21 credits.
By utilizing whit has come to be known as the "A-B" programming Option, by involving community members- and by moving the industrial arts lab between Abbey and Cabri the Leader School Division has maintained'. a reasonably comprehensive high school program. In the future., increased use of. correspondence courses under professional staff supervision, by developing and implementing locally developed optional courses and by drawing upon current technology this reasonably comprehensive range of optional course offering can perhaps be maintained. However, a broad range of alternatives will need to be developed and evaluated. The Committee has therefore recommended that:
"The Board of Education establish a curriculum committee to include trustees and professional staff to plan for oversee, in conjunction with Boards of Trustees, the development of local optional courses and to evaluate the effectiveness of those courses once implemented."
The. purpose. of this committee is not necessarily to undertake this work but to ensure that it gets done. The Committee made no direct attempt to evaluate school programming within the Division. However, the Committee did ask survey respondents to rate programming within the Division and to rate programming generally in rural Saskatchewan. Respondents' assessment of programming within the Leader School Division is reported by school in Table 13. By and large respondents indicated that programming was fair or better with 88 percent of the respondents rating the program as either fair, good or very good. It is important to note that 50 percent of the respondents rated the programming as good. On the other hand, slightly more than 6 percent. of the respondents rated the programming as poor or very poor.
By way of comparison, respondents rated programming in rural Saskatchewan generally in much the same way as they rated programming within the Leader School Division. Although 15 percent of the respondents did not rate rural education, 32 percent rated rural education as fair or better while 3 percent rated rural education as, poor or very poor. These data are summarized in Table 14.
Although the Committee did not make a thorough evaluation of school Programming within the Division, the Committee believes that for the most part programming is acceptable to parents and ratepayer and insofar as it is possible should continue to be organized in much the same manner as it is currently. Notwithstanding this general satisfaction with current programming, the Committee recommends that:
"The Board of Education maintain its present policy of offering university and technical school minimum in the Division and that where necessary supervised correspondence course studies or other methods be employed to maintain necessary entrance requirement offerings."
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Table 17 details starting times in i5 minute intervals. The table indicates that B or 23.5 percent of the routes have starting times in the 7:30 to 7:44 a.m. range. An additional 9 or 26.5 percent of the routes have a starting time between 7:45 and 7:59 a.m. These starting times result in a situation where 50 percent of the routes start prior to 8:00 a.m. A review of bus routing and starting times reveals that for the most part, those routes starting in advance of 8:00 a.m. do so for either one of two reasons. First, ten or eleven routes are feeder routes which either pick up additional high school students at an elementary school and transport them to Leader or Abbey High School or meet a second bus at an elementary school and transfer their high school students to that bus. The second reason concerns four or five routes which must start early in the morning at a remote point. Usually, no more than two or three families are affected on each of these routes by the early starting time.
The second reason for early starting times, namely outlying principal residences, defies remediation. The first reason for early starting times, namely to transport high school students to Leader or Abbey, could be remedied by shortening the high school day at both Leader and Abbey.
In an attempt to determine the maximum time elementary, middle and high school students should be allowed to spend on the bus the Committee asked survey respondents to make their opinion known. The survey results as reported in Table 18 revealed that 71.5 percent of the respondents believed that elementary pupils might spend somewhere between l5 and 45 minutes on the bus. On the assumption that the bus arrives at a school at 8:45 a.m. this means that elementary Students should not board the bus before 8:00 a.m. Notwithstanding these results, some 14 percent of the respondents indicated that elementary students could spend up to 60 minutes in transport. Two-thirds of the respondents (65.7 percent) indicated that middle and high school students could spend between 30 and 60 minutes in transport.
These results, and in particular respondents' belief that middle and high school students can spend a greater amount of time on the bus, are supported by respondents' opinion about the effects of "time spent on the bus on elementary, middle and high school students with respect to their academic achievement and welfare. Table 19 reveals that, in the respondents' opinion, elementary students are more greatly affected in terms of their academic achievement and welfare than are high school students. A greater proportion of respondents indicated that time spent on the bus had no effect on middle and high school students' achievement and welfare than reported no effect on elementary students' academic achievement and welfare.
Respondents' comments with respect to student transportation for elementary students suggests that elementary students tire by early afternoon, that homework and chores result in late nights and that because they are tired they cannot study properly. Although some concern was voiced for elementary students' social life greater concern was expressed for the social life of middle and high school students.
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