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Calgary schools bursting with students for the return to classes

Thursday is the first day of school for many Calgary students and one of the city's major school boards says a number of its facilities are at or over capacity already.

The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) reports the number of its schools that were at capacity jumped from seven to 18 in the past three years with the city's rapid population growth.

Interprovincial and international migration is mainly to blame for the change in enrollment, the CBE said.

More than two dozen schools have been designated as "overflow receivers." That means they've dropped to 70 per cent capacity and students who can't be accommodated at the designated school in their home community are being shifted.

"Student accommodation planning is an ongoing process that reflects the need for the system to adapt to evolving student needs," the CBE said in its report.

The board says new schools are needed if the overflow conditions continue in Alberta and it will result in increased pressures on administrators.

"Financial impacts may include but are not limited to transportation costs, operational and maintenance funding changes and costs incurred to support program moves and/or expansions."


Other than operational challenges, Calgary schools are also faced with increased traffic around schools because of the return to classes.

Police say it should be no surprise to any driver that they need to slow down and watch out for children now that schools have reopened.

Speed limits are reduced near schools and officers will also be watching out for distracted drivers.

"It's hard to believe after so many years of trying to enforce distracted driving, people are still on their cell phones, still texting (and) just not paying attention," said Sgt. Mark Novello with the Calgary Police Service.

"It only takes a second for a kid to run out and you'll miss that."

Drivers are also being asked to consider parking away from schools to reduce traffic congestion.

(With files from Austin Lee) Top Stories

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