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Rosslanders speak up to save their schools

“Will the board be willing to stick their necks out to help us find the proper political channels to pressure Victoria for changes to the educational funding models?”

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“It’s a false cost savings because of attrition. If you assume that 10 per cent of the kids that are currently at RSS don’t go down to J.L Crowe, you actually wipe out all of the cost savings for two of the three scenarios.”

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“Closer to home, L.V. Rogers (in Nelson) has 54 kids in their international program, we have eight. So one of the recommendations also is to put more money into the international program.”

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“If this particular town and these particular schools are such a drain on resources of the school district, as they seem to be—because the only options you are considering in the budget involves reconfiguration in Rossland—why not consider cutting this town right out of the school district altogether? ... If it is true that Rossland is a problem, and you can’t think of any other solutions, get rid of Rossland. We’re happy to take care of it ourselves.”

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“It’s easier to make cuts than to take a little bit of action to try and find the new money to come in. To the district and to the board, I say do you want to be remembered as the people who took the easy way out and left a hole in the community, or be remembered as heroes who put in a little bit of an effort and made things better for everyone?”

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“One of the things that hasn’t been considered is the true cost of overcrowding these schools, the true cost of putting all of these students at Crowe, the true regional cost of potentially loss of population growth or resulting enrolment decline. Those intangible costs, not just to Rossland but the whole region, are really hard to analyze and we would really like you to think about them.”

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“From the City (of Rossland)’s perspective, this building provides amenities that we do not have anywhere else in the community ... to continue to try to simply meet the budget, I don’t think this is serving the students well, and I don’t think it is serving the communities well.”

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“It isn’t easy to sit on the board. It isn’t easy to put yourself out there. But throughout history there have been individuals and groups that have stood up for what is right, and we’re asking you to do that as elected board members from all of our communities.”

***

“We are willing to give up another school to save what we have and keep all of our kids in Rossland.”

 

Facts and figures:

• The bleeding began in 2008/09 when SD20 had a $1.8 million reduction in program and services.

• A further $475,000 was reduced from programs and services in 2009/10.

• The budget was “rebuilt from scratch” in 2010/11 to ensure spending matched priorities.

• The district was hit with another reduction in 2011/12, with the province pulling $1.2 million from programs and services.

• Programs and services suffered another $1.5 million reduction in 2012/13.

• The future holds more reductions, with $750,000 in reduced funding anticipated for 2013/14, and $500,000 in 2014/15 and again in 2015/16.

Options under review

• Making Rossland Secondary School (RSS) kindergarten to Grade 12 and closing Maclean Elementary School (MES)—a savings of $145,000 per year.

• Making RSS K-9, closing MES, and sending RSS grade 10-12 students to J.L. Crowe Secondary School (JLC) in Trail—a savings of $285,000 per year.

• Making MES K-7, closing RSS, and sending RSS grade 8-12 students to JLC—a savings of $455,000 per year.

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