Amazing amount of input for SD20

This week’s School District 20 board meeting agenda contains all the input from the SD20 “Community Focus Group” meetings held in March in Castlegar, Rossland and Trail, as well as the input people sent in afterward.

This week’s School District 20 board meeting agenda contains all the input from the SD20 “Community Focus Group” meetings held in March in Castlegar, Rossland and Trail, as well as the input people sent in afterward.

Of the 47 pages published, 35 of them are from Rossland. Thank you SO much to everyone who took the time to attend the meetings and/or submit their thoughts and opinions!

Following are some of the excellent responses submitted from Rosslanders, and if you’d like to read what everyone from all three communities wrote, the full document is posted on the VSS website:

Re: Moving the school board office to the top floor of Trail Middle School

• Board should consider repurposing/leasing TMS to Selkirk, St. Michael’s, itinerant staff, district resource centre and School Board Office and enable us to keep K-12 in Rossland and give a good use to TMS.

• If the sale of the SBO really could bring in $1 million in capital proceeds that would go directly to the district and not the ministry, it would be worth selling it, even if $250,000 went to renovating a new space.

• Would it make better financial sense to sell TMS to St. Michael’s and move the SBO into any other underutilized district space? For example, is there possibly room in either Robson or Fruitvale elementary schools for the SBO, which would also enable our district to be eligible for funding for the geographical distance?

• The school board should move ASAP into portables if necessary.

Re: Closing RSS and configuring MacLean as a K-7 school

• MacLean as K-7 does not make sense – insufficient square footage to accommodate adequately the children – when measured by square footage as opposed to simple classroom capacity, less square footage per child than other schools in district.

• Carbon offset affected with busing children – have one high school with 3 campuses (Trail, Rossland, Castlegar) – one teacher in Trail as an example could teach course in Trail and students could link in on-line – technology allows us to explore options that were not available allowing for better education of our children.

• Support is contingent upon each community preserving its K-12 system – we chose them in the belief that these options do not negate that principle – options that include increased bussing go against both Bill 27 and Smart Growth BC – any community that loses K-12 will also suffer decreased economic activity and aging demographics.

• Keep RSS and Crowe as different schools: RSS – Arts, Ski Academy, Dance Academy / Crowe – keep Applied Skills.

• Make RSS K-12 – Rationale: enhances pupils’ learning experience – opportunities for peer mentorship, building self-esteem, increasing student-student relationships, intergenerational learning opportunities and perhaps most importantly, will reduce operating costs by operating 1 facility in Rossland and also opening opportunities to gain revenue through MacLean rental…

• I can accept K-12 in one building – I cannot accept not having K-12 in Rossland.

• Closing RSS would destroy the community economically, socially and environmentally.

• Rossland is a unique community and K-12 learning is core to that essence – Rossland draws talented individuals who contribute to the entire West Kootenay area – the entire West Kootenay area would lose out of families were lost from Rossland.

• I moved to Rossland from a “larger town with more educational learning programs” because of what it offered my family as a whole. If education is lost locally so will many of my reasons for being here, and I will definitely consider moving away.

• We believe that K-12 is not a compromise, it is an opportunity.

• Discussions with the school board and City of Rossland should commence immediately, so that an agreement can be written up over the next six months, and planning can start on bringing the K-5s into the RSS building.

Re: Changes in Castlegar school configurations

• In general I would only support options that do not displace/disrupt students and communities. I cannot comment on reconfiguration of other schools or communities except those in Rossland. I feel it should be up to the individual communities and the board and possibly the municipalities to come up with reasonable solutions for themselves.

General comments

• Until a full economic impact study is available, none of the options suggested on page 12 can be rationally evaluated. A full economic impact study would include both direct and indirect impacts on not only District 20’s budget, but also include the economic impacts, both positive and negative, on the communities in District 20.

• All senior high school field maintenance could be done by the cities. Rossland does, why not Trail and Castlegar?

• I feel that other communities, Trail, Castlegar and those other smaller areas should do what Rossland has done and come up with solutions of how they can change things in their communities to save the board money and make the district viable. By doing it this way you would have buy-in by all the communities for what is happening in their community and not have so much conflict and long drawn-out battles

• How can we cooperate as an entire school district to change the provincial funding model for education – more advocacy is needed.

• Rossland has already had one school closed down and has accepted that a second will close. The community has been very creative and proactive in considering options to create sustainability. This includes financial sustainability for the school board AND our community. This forward thinking should be taken into account and used as a role model for other school districts.

• But please don’t close the high school and make me move away, because it took a long time to find such a great community which offers everything my family needs, and I love living here.

• Listen to the community (we want to keep K-12 in Rossland) – this community is willing to compromise and sacrifice something to keep K-12 in our community; we want to be a partner/resource to come up with creative solutions to keep K-12 in our community; we are motivated to work toward a solution.