Grade 1 students at Dundonald School in Saskatoon gather around for story time.

Some of the school systems in Saskatchewan's biggest cities are grappling with larger-than-expected increases in enrolment this year.

Enrolment in Saskatoon's public schools is up by 778 as of Sept. 30, compared to the same time last year — an increase of close to four per cent.

Catholic school enrolment hasn't been finalized yet, but it's expected to increase by about 500 students from last year's 15,548.

In Regina, Catholic schools have seen a similar boost — enrolment is up 308 students or about 3 per cent.

Prince Albert's Catholic schools saw a more modest growth, with total kindergarten-to-Grade-12 enrolment going up 45 to 2,949 — a 1.5 per cent increase.

Meanwhile, enrolment in Prince Albert's public schools is down slightly overall (8,739  this year compared to 8,833 last year) but that is expected to turn around down the road.

Enrolments in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and Grade 1 are highest they've ever been — up about 40 students in each of those three levels.

Figures for the Regina public school division weren't available.

Money for extra students needed, officials say

Although hundreds of new students are pouring in, some school officials say money to cover the added cost of teaching them is lagging behind.

Ray Morrison, chair of the Saskatoon public school board, is pushing for a mid-year top-up in the province's annual grant, but says talks are moving too slowly.

"We'd like to see this resolved as quickly as we can.  And we'll continue to lobby and push officials in the ministry and in government at every chance," Morrison said.