While it’s exciting for many to have a youth movement happening in Edmonton in recent years, it might become a problem of overcrowding if the trend of youngsters in Edmonton continues to climb. With more than 100,000 students in Edmonton public schools, it’s a number that’s only expected to grow throughout the years, which is also prompting the city to start building more schools.
City officials are now saying that there are going to be thousands more students than available spots in public schools down the road, especially as there’s been nearly a 30 percent increase in the amount of students in recent memory. Edmonton Public Schools chairwoman Michelle Draper has said that she’s “delighted” that so many people are choosing Edmonton schools, but hopes that more facilities continue to be built for the new students to learn.
Draper pointed to the lack of funding as the main source of the overcrowding, saying that “For so many years, there has been little investment, and now we’re paying that price.” If schools continue to be overcrowded, there may have to be alternatives put into place that would keep students out of classrooms on a full-time basis. Instead, some students might have to take classes online, travel longer distances to schools that are less crowded, or even add new class sessions that could reverse the standard school schedule.
Some schools are already over 100 percent capacity, and the amount of money needed for new buildings or renovations and expansions is already getting close to $1 billion. Lorne Parker, the assistant superintendent of infrastructure, said that she doesn’t know the exact reasons why Edmonton has become a “magnet” for families, but asks “how are we supposed to dig out of” the expensive list of repairs and construction to be made. It certainly won’t be easy, and many Edmonton students might find themselves in class situations that most young people won’t have to experience.