The results of the Rossland Schools Survey are in, and in total, 466 Rossland households and 52 non-Rossland households filled it out.
The complete survey results will be available in the upcoming Rossland Schools Notebook newsletter – watch for it coming to your mailbox next week!
This column focuses on the results of the question: “What are your greatest concerns regarding the potential closure of RSS?”
The top four concerns out of the listed choices were:
1) The ability of Rossland to attract and keep families (88 per cent of respondents)
2) The loss of community spaces in RSS including the auditorium and gym (66 per cent of respondents)
3) Having to send children out of the community for grades 8-12 education (62 per cent of respondents)
4) Economic impacts of not having high school students in the community during the day (60 per cent of respondents)
The crowding at MacLean, and loss of the academy programs were concerns of 50 per cent of respondents and sending their kids to a larger high school was a concern of 24 per cent of respondents.
Survey respondents were also given the opportunity to identify concerns that were not listed, which revealed some strong themes. The largest concern related to having to bus high school students to Trail for their education.
Respondents raised concerns regarding the safety of busing and young drivers, particularly in the winter, the amount of time spent busing and the degree to which students would lose their ability to participate in extracurricular activities, and the sustainability of busing.
One respondent noted, “We are trying to teach our kids about driving less and being “green” so closing a school within walking distance and busing our kids out of their town doesn’t make sense!”
Respondents observed that parents would also spend more time driving to and from Trail delivering kids to extra curricular activities, events and school, which would also have negative environmental impacts.
The loss of community in Rossland was another leading theme. Respondents stressed that Rossland would lose its sense of community from not having the high school students here, but also that the high school students would lose their sense of identity with the community.
Parents and community members would no longer know the students as well, connect with them or be able to keep tabs on them, which could result in an increase in social problems.
One respondent observed:
“Having old people and young people in a town is critical for community. Sending kids to Trail would be tragic for the greater community well being.”
Other leading concerns identified in comments included the economic and social impacts of closing RSS, including a loss of Rossland businesses (seven business owners indicated they may have to move) and a decline in real estate values, the loss of a small school that offers individual attention and excellence in education in the district, having to move, or having grandchildren move as a result of the closure, and concerns regarding overcrowding at Crowe that will result in children, especially special-needs children getting lost in the crowd.
One respondent observed:
“RSS is a high quality school, with dedicated staff and students. This cannot be measured, however decision makers should do a qualitative research study to address this important aspect of RSS. RSS should probably be considered a model. Hence its closure has a broad impact. It sends a message that decision makers do not consider the quality of the education and the commitment of its people.”
Another respondent observed:
“Small schools, while they may not have the facilities and other shiny toys bigger schools have, offer the advantage of being a place of learning where the kids don’t get lost in a crowd. The teaching is better and the entire community supports the kids… The provincial ranking of this school (RSS) points to the small school effect: why would you want to destroy a successful educational experience? Our country needs capable adults, and this is how you create them.”