The school district may have recently passed a bylaw that closes MacLean Elementary School and forces Rossland families to send their Grade 10-12 students to Trail, but that doesn’t mean that the battle is over.
On Feb. 28 the Neighbourhood of Learning committee (NOL) held a public forum to talk about what the recent ruling by the board means to the strong push for K-12 in Rossland and where it could go from here.
Aerin Guy, NOL’s co-ordinator made it clear that there are still many avenues that the committee will be pursuing.
In a slideshow presentation Guy, along with Bernie Hofmann, who is involved with the blended learning program, and Aaron Cosbey, highlighted some of those avenues.
Guy noted that a decision was finally reached and now the committee could move on.
“Now that the board has made their decision, we’re ready to move forward,” Guy said.
The fate of MacLean, and the StrongStart program, are still up in the air, but the elementary school will likely be sold to SD93, which is the francophone school district that operates throughout B.C.
It also means that, starting in September, Grade 10-12 students are slated to be bussed down to J.L. Crowe Secondary School in Trail.
Guy said it is also the end of blended learning, extracurriular activities for the senior classes and the loss of one third of the sports teams in the district.
In a recent report, Aaron Cosbey put forward other impacts that not having K-12 in Rossland could bring, as well as an argument for why those who don’t have children or plan to have children, may still still find the option to raise taxes to cover the K-12 cost an good one.
Losing those top grades will make Rossland a less desirable place to live in and as well as less desirable to move to, Cosbey argued, saying he would not have moved if Rossland Secondary hadn’t been here.
Cosbey said the loss of K-12 could result in loss of current and future families, as well as loss of revenue from international and academy schools.
It will also leaves the town with the negative impact of not having any grade 10-12 students in the city after school.
In the presentation Hofmann, who works at RSS, layed out a number of scenarios that NOL will be pursuing.
The first one is that the City of Rossland will be able to partner with SD20. This would keep K-12 at RSS and buy time to develop alternative options for eventual self governance. Hofmann said it would also allow time to develop a business model which could potentially be in partnership with Sustainability Commission.
RSS would also be eligible for improvements and renos. In this scenario the city could take ownership of Annex and use it for recreation programs. There could also be a partnership on RSS facilities (gym, auditorium, kitchen, shop etc, and the city could take over marketing of the international and Academy programs.
Another scenario is that the city buy the RSS building. Hofmann said the operating costs would be offset by leasing space to SD20. The thinking behind this is that the building would become a community asset and the school district wouldn’t be able to close it.