What would you pay to retain K-12 in Rossland?

Neighbourhood of Learning talks about its new survey on school taxation.

The Rossland Neighbourhood of Learning Committee would like to thank everyone who came out to learn and connect at last week’s public meeting at RSS.

Your thoughtful questions and support are greatly appreciated as we move into the next phase of our fight to keep K-12 in the community.

If you missed the meeting, or would like a review of the presentation given, an overview of the options is available at vssrossland.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/options-for-k-12-in-rossland/

NOL has launched a survey to gauge Rossland residents’ appetite for a tax increase that would potentially support the availability of K-12 education in town. The City of Rossland is considering providing bridge funding in order to maintain K-12 in the community, but it needs a strong mandate from residents before taking action.

We encourage all households to participate and indicate their willingness to pay tax increases for certain school options in Rossland. The survey questions also ask how much of a tax increase households are willing to pay and for how long.

NOL has worked to provide residents with as much information as possible, particularly around the impacts of the loss of K-12 when balanced against an increase in taxes. Losing the ability to educate all of our children in Rossland has economic, social and environmental consequences for all residents.

Impacts of losing K-12

• Homeowners will see a drop in their house values (but not a drop in taxes) if there is no K-12 in Rossland. Even a 1% drop in the value of the average home means a loss of $2,560 in equity for the homeowner — enough to cover a tax increase of $50/year for over 50 years.

• Businesses in Rossland will be negatively impacted by the the loss of students shopping in the community after school hours, and parents shopping outside the community while they are transporting their kids.

• K-9 means the loss of the Academy and International Programs at RSS. A conservative estimate sees International students contributing between $25,000 and $35,000 per year to the local economy, through homestay fees, tuition fees, parental visits, and discretionary spending.

• Rossland’s economy would contract as families move away to K-12 communities, and as new families decided against moving to Rossland because it lacked the K-12 available in other destinations. Lower population + same services = higher taxes.

• The Blended Learning Program at RSS is an exciting, innovative program that needs to be given the opportunity to flourish.

Tax implications

The City of Rossland is examining several possibilities for covering the difference between the cost of K-12 and K-9 at RSS ($140,000/year). The options include short-term spending (e.g., a three-year agreement), and long-term spending (agreement in perpetuity).

To give an idea what the tax burden might be:

•If the City were to offer SD20 $140,000 per year for a three-year deal, paid back over five years, the tax increase to residents on an assessed property value of $256,000 would be about $43/year for five years.

•If the City were to offer SD20 $140,000 per year indefinitely, the tax increase per year to residents on an assessed property value of $256,000 would be about $64.

Part of the negotiations could involve the City being able to use RSS as a community resource, housing Rossland Rec programs, renting out the kitchen and auditorium, etc.

Our newly established working groups will meet soon to research the frameworks that would be required to establish a municipal school district or an independent school.

To get involved, contact Aerin Guy at aeringuy@gmail.com.

You can fill out the survey online here or in person at the City of Rossland building on Columbia Ave.


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