A majority Rossland residents don’t mind paying extra taxes if it means keeping K-12 education in Rossland.
The Neighbourhood of Learning Committee put out a survey from March 4-10 to find out two things: If residents are willing to pay, and if they are, how much are they willing to pay.
Last night, council learned that a majority of respondents are willing to pay to keep Grades 10-12 in Rossland.
Aerin Guy, NOL co-ordinator, presented the findings of the survey.
The results showed 70 per cent of taxpayers were willing to pay $15 or more per year to keep K-12 as a public institution under SD20, with a further 20 per cent saying they are willing to pay more than $100 per year in the scenario.
There was a split when it came to how long residents would pay the additional taxes, with 45 per cent willing to pay for 3-5 years as a way to bridge into another avenue, 17 per cent willing to pay for up to 10 years and 39 per cent willing to pay into the future.
Guy noted that most respondents with children were willing to pay $75 per year or higher in perpetuity.
Residents were also supportive of K-12 as a municipal school district, with 67 per cent of respondents willing to pay $15 or more per year to have a school district in the city’s boundaries. In this scenario, 53 per cent were willing to pay $55 or more, and 22 per cent were willing to pay more than $100 a year.
Guy noted that there was a greater percentage of respondents willing to pay in perpetuity for this option than for the option where K-12 remains under SD20’s administration, with 52 per cent willing to pay in perpetuity, compared to 39 per cent for the first option.
The third option in the survey was to gauge the interest in paying for an independent school. This option had a majority of respondents in favour, with a total of 57 per cent willing to pay more than $15 per year.
Guy said the total amount that residents were willing to pay dropped in this option, when compared to the previous two options.
“Support for public school within SD20 had the highest level of support and independent school had the lowest level of support,” Guy said.
The survey also asked respondents to leave a comment. Some of the comments against paying to keep K-12 included taxes being too high already, students being better off at J.L. Crowe Secondary School and others who believe that paying SD20 or for education in general, the city is playing in to a provincial government plan to offload education costs to municipalities.
NOL had a total of 556 online and 67 hard copies submissions.
The survey results will go to city staff for input, before coming back to council on April 8 for council decision. Guy also hoped that council would move quickly to commit financial support, as time is running short to negotiate with the school district.
For the full survey results, click here.