Rossland seeks deal with school district

School District 20 and City of Rossland administration met to discuss the possibility of a partnership to save K-12 education in Rossland.

Last week, School District 20 and City of Rossland administration met to discuss the possibility of a partnership to save K-12 education in Rossland.

With the district set for its first reading of a bylaw regarding possible school closures on Monday, Rossland council wasted no time in pushing forward a motion to show the district it is serious.

The motion, brought forward by Coun. Jill Spearn, asks city staff to examine the tax implications of four possible options to help pay the district’s shortfall and save K-12.

The options would see the city pay the school district the amount it needs to keep Rossland Secondary School open. In return, the city hopes for the use of RSS’s facilities, such as the auditorium, the gym and the kitchen. The sale of MacLean Elementary could be used for capital improvements needed on RSS.

Council decided not to include any of the conditions at this time.

“What you want here is to show the school board that we’re actively pursuing this,” Mayor Greg Granstrom said.

The four options given were:

1. $300,000/year to be paid annually for a period of three years.

2. $300,000/year for a period of one year.

3. $140,000/year for a period of three years, with the total amount possibly offered in a lump sum to SD20.

4. $140,000/year for a period of one year Spearn asked that city administration look into what effect these options would have on Rossland taxes, and what avenues it could pursue.

Spearn said the push for K-12 in RSS, comes because the district trustees have made it clear that Rossland cannot keep the status quo – both MacLean and RSS.

“We’re just hoping to keep K-12. Would that be in two buildings? The likelyhood is minimal,” she said, adding that is the advice from Rossland’s school trustee, Gordon Smith.

Spearn said the $140,000 is the difference between having K-9 and K-12 in RSS.

“So selling MacLean gives them the money for capital improvements to RSS,” she said.

Granstrom said that the important thing to do is show the school board that the city is trying to make it work.

Shelley Ackerman, from Neighbourhood of Learning, agreed that the city should take out the conditions for now.

The district will vote on the first reading of the bylaw that relates to the school closure Monday, at its regular meeting at the Trail Middle School Gym. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

On Feb. 14, SD20 will hold their second reading of the bylaw in Rossland at the RSS gym.

That meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

For more information on the meetings, click here.

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