The South East Cornerstone Public School Division is seeing an uptick in registration for face-to-face schoolers returning from homeschool and Cyber Stone online learning.
"Preliminarily we can see an increase of about 50 students across our division. In addition to those 50, we've seen also approximately 29 more students return face to face from our home school. Some schools will see a slight increase, but there are also some within our school division who will see a slight decrease in student population," said Director of Education Keith Keating.
"We need to kind of wait until September 30th to see what the exact numbers are," he added.
He said numbers over the past couple of years have varied, but have been higher than quite a few years ago. "But it seems to be coming back more face-to-face in the last year or so."
"We do see a kind of a correlation between the number of elementary students that are in a particular area and the number of home school families that there are in that particular area," he noted. "While there are pockets in different places, just depending on the community, it kind of ebbs and flows based on that community, and what the particular needs of parents are in that in that state."
He said, either way, they endeavour to include those who are studying from home.
"Regardless of whether a child is home-schooled or on Cyber Stone, we still want to allow every opportunity to have them connect at their local school, whether that be for specific classes or extracurricular activities or just special celebrations that are going on there."
As for a potential increase in student-to-teacher ratios, Keith said nearly every school year begins with a staffing shuffle in some way, "to deal with any pressure points that may exist at local levels."
However, there may be a bit more wiggle room this year, given the government's additional funding boost.
"We also know that there has been that addition of one-time funding in August from the province. It was aimed at inflationary costs of transportation and staffing challenges due to inflation, in other areas, like insurance, heating software, or computer hardware costs. So we'll be looking at utilizing as much without funding as possible to put more teachers back into the classroom."
He said the board is looking at the school division's budget, which incorporates this one-time funding. That meeting will be held on September 21st.