Rossland Schools Survey Results (Part Two):
This column is part two of a continuing series on the Rossland Schools Survey results.
This column focuses on the question: “Would you move away from Rossland if MacLean were a K-7 school and RSS was closed?” Rossland residents responded as follows:
Residents that would move if MacLean were a K-7 school and RSS were closed: 13%
Residents that might move if MacLean were a K-7 school and RSS were closed: 32%
Respondents were asked to indicate the reasons they would consider moving from Rossland if RSS closed.
Survey responses of this nature need to be interpreted with care, as it is easy to say one will move. Nevertheless, the reasons provided reflect the kinds of deliberations families might undertake if RSS closed.
Respondents stressed over and over the importance of children to communities and the importance of communities to children.
The most important reason for considering a move was that respondents want to live in a community where their child can walk to school.
Concerns regarding the safety of busing, the time spent on buses, the sustainability issues associated with busing or driving, and the challenges associated with doing extra curricular activities were repeated over and over.
The opportunity to walk to school and after-school activities was identified as a key reason people moved here.
“We left Vancouver to live in a small town… if we wanted our kids to be commuters, we could have stayed put.” “Love Rossland, but logistically transporting our kids for school sports, activities to Trail through the long winters will not happen.”
Many respondents also stressed the importance of a school and school children to a community and that without a high school, Rossland could lose its sense of community.
As one respondent observed, “The heart of the community is its schools. Without a full and complete education available for my family here, I would move to another community whose values reflect my own and that my children could enjoy fully.”
And another: “A school is the foundation to any community. No school = No community = No town. Simple!”
Many respondents expressed concerns about Rossland’s economic viability if RSS closed.
People noted that property values might drop, new people might not come and people will begin leaving.
Some people suggested that they would move immediately to be on the front end of this decline.
Others indicated that they would stay in the short term, but leave if Rossland starts to have a ‘dead’ feel. Several respondents indicated that their business might close.
One respondent noted. “Families would not be attracted to move to Rossland. Families would move away. This would strongly affect the town’s economy and the operation of the ski hill.”
Another respondent observed, “I believe this town would become a ghost town without the students here. Everyone would be driving down to Trail to pick up their kids from school, and then stay down there to shop.”
Respondents also emphasized the importance of having children educated in their communities for the sake of the children.
They stressed that educating children in their own community enables parents to be more involved in their children’s education, enables the community to look out for the children and helps foster a connectedness between the children and the community.
One respondent observed: “One of the main reasons we moved here was to live in a small town which meant being able to send our kids to a local school and have them experience a close sense of community.” Another noted, “A community raises a child.”
466 Rossland households and 52 non-Rossland households filled out the Rossland Schools Survey.
The complete numerical results of the survey are available in the April 2012 Rossland Schools Notebook.