The question of MacLean

The board of trustees for School District 20 has begun the formal process of deciding what to do with the MacLean Elementary School.

The building that shredded a City of Rossland negotiation process with the school district will be front and centre when a public town hall meeting is convened in the city on Tuesday.

The board of trustees for School District 20 has begun the formal process of deciding what to do with the MacLean Elementary School, the Annex building and its lands.

On Tuesday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. the district will host a consultation session in the MacLean gymnasium, with the board prepared to receive input from Rosslanders in a public meeting, including an opportunity for people to respond to the four options being considered, or to suggest an alternative use.

According to school district policy, part of that decision process is a requirement to consult with the affected community prior to making any decision on what to do with the building and the site.

The disposition of the school could take a long time, or it could be done quickly depending on who makes an offer to the school district for the building, said SD20 board chair Darrell Ganzert.

The first step is a public process to put the school on the auction block, then the board will make a decision. If another school district, which is the the Francophone school L’École des Sept-Sommets (School District 93) in Rossland, makes an offer, SD20 does not need ministerial approval to sell the building to them.

Any other group, outside of a school district, would need ministerial approval on the sale. The last time SD20 put a school up for sale, Trail’s Sunningdale School, the decision sat on the minister’s desk for three-and-a-half years before approval was given to sell it.

“You just don’t know long ministerial approval will take,” Ganzert said.

If the Francophone district offered a decent amount for the school the process would be over quickly.

Ganzert confirmed there has been interest expressed by the Francophone school district, but that was as far as it has gone, nothing formal.

“After we have the public consultation and the board makes a decision about attempting to find a buyer, they will become more serious,” he said.

The school district will be presenting to the public a series of four options that have pros and cons associated with them, and then they will ask the people to put dots on paper to indicate where they it ought to go.

The board will then use that information to make its decision.

“So, whatever comes of that meeting (on Tuesday) is not the decision, it will just be part of the process,” Ganzert said.

After the consultation the board may choose to dispose of the building and its site by passing three readings of a bylaw.

At the same time the discussion of the MacLean school building and site goes on the board will also consult around the potential disposal of the MacLean Annex building and site.

The City of Rossland tripped itself up in the proposal for a deal with the school district to keep grades 10-12 in Rossland by including the potential sale of MacLean to the municipal government.

Councillor Jill Spearn could not speak for council or the Neighbourhoods of Learning committee on the prospect of a negotiation for the purchase of the building,

“But I look forward to hearing their presentation and we will be discussing this after the fact,” she said.

Rossland council will be meeting the night before and the issue will also be discussed, Spearn noted.

In February, 2013 the board passed a bylaw closing MacLean Elementary School and reconfiguring Rossland Secondary School and J.L. Crowe Secondary in Trail for the fall.

  • For more information contact Greg Luterbach, SD20 superintendent of schools at 368-2224 or by e-mail at gluterbach@sd20.bc.ca.

editor@rosslandnews.com

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