Neighbourhood of Learning will hold information meeting in Rossland

Neighbourhood of Learning committee talks about the next steps in Rossland's education battle, after Tuesday school board meeting.

K-7 at MacLean is dead, and K-9 at RSS has passed to the next reading, Rossland residents learned at Tuesday night’s emotional board meeting in the RSS gymnasium.

Several trustees spoke honestly and eloquently about the implications of each of the options on the table.

We know, as trustee Lorraine Manning reiterated, that it does come down to “dollars and cents,” but we also know that it should be about education and kids.

It should also be about the sustainability and future of a community that has invested so much in this frustrating battle; a community that wants, needs and deserves a stable and high quality educational experience for all of our learners.

As Rossland trustee Gordon Smith said, “We need to see the community as a partner, and make decisions with openness of mind and a spirit of innovation.”

The NOL committee thanks the SD20 trustees for being flexible in their process and giving the community the opportunity to listen to their opinions, rationales and vision. Rosslanders weren’t given that opportunity when K-12 was voted down, and that has been frustrating for many concerned residents.

We also appreciate that a great many people were allowed to speak freely, ask questions and support each other through the generously extended question period. Once again, the community poured forth a trove of creative ideas and solutions, and expressed hope that K-12 in Rossland might still be a possibility when the dust settles.

So what happens next?

The Feb. 25 board meeting at Trail Middle School is the final reading of the bylaws. Trustees will vote for or against K-9 at RSS. If they vote against it, then the status quo (K-5 at MacLean and 6-12 at RSS) will remain in Rossland for the time being.

If they vote to pass it, the board will then proceed with the next stages of their planning process.

A bylaw that is passed can also be rescinded, so any emerging partnerships that develop with the City of Rossland could still change the playing field.

City council is currently discussing various partnership ideas and the tax implications that would result.

The NOL committee will hold a Public Information Meeting on Feb. 28.

This meeting will address what steps we can take to keep K-12 alive in our community, and what potential solutions and alternatives are available.

We will also outline how passionate Rosslanders can become more involved in the critical next steps that will hopefully lead to outcomes that we all want. Details will be available soon and posted on our Facebook page, the NOL website, and the Bhubble.

Thank you to all of the Rosslanders who came out on Tuesday night to question, to cheer, to give a few memorable standing ovations, and to share what is in our hearts.

You make all the difference.

Aerin Guy is co-ordinator for the Neighbourhood of Learning committee in Rossland.

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