The case for RSS as a K-12 school

In the Facilities Report released by the school district this fall, three of the top-rated scenarios see Rossland Secondary School closing and MacLean Elementary becoming a K-7 school. This is based on the assumption that grades kindergarten to seven will fit in MacLean. When you take a closer look at the numbers, however, it becomes clear that this is not a viable option.

Currently MacLean is a K-5 school, and RSS is a 6-12 school. This may seem unusual, but there are configurations of every shape and size in schools all over the province and the current configuration works very well in Rossland.

Using SD20’s enrolment projections for 2015-16 (which has MacLean growing every year) if you put K-7 into MacLean you will end up with a capacity of 112.37 per cent based on the District’s Average Functional Capacity calculations.

This does not include any space for Rossland’s extremely successful Strong Start program, which currently has 151 children registered. And if there are ever more than 44 kindergarten children wishing to be registered at MacLean (it’s full this year), children will have to be turned away even if they live in Rossland, as there won’t be room for an additional class. There is no room for long-term or short-term growth.

In addition, when you work out the area per student with K-7 in MacLean, there would be only 6.75 sq. m. per student for 2015-16. If you include a portable, it works out to 7.03 sq. m. per student.

The next smallest area per student at any of the other schools in SD20 is Twin Rivers Elementary at 9.35 square metres, or 9.63 square metres with its portable. The space per student ranges from this up to 19 sq. m. at Webster Elementary. The average across the district, without portables, is 11.96 sq. m. per student. This number is even higher if you include portables.

Therefore, if one of those three scenarios were to take place, not only would Rossland lose its high school, but our elementary students would have far less space than any other school in the district.

The Planning for the Future 1 and 2 documents prepared by board staff both suggest having a K-12 school in Rossland. PFF2 states that: Closure of MacLean Elementary will result in annual operational savings … [of] $218,500 from the 2011/2012 school year forward.

The district’s Project Identification Report: Rossland Secondary School from May 2009 states that: “The grade 10 to 12 students from Rossland should be accommodated at a combined Rossland K to 12 School… Given the present populations compared against the existing capacity of Rossland Secondary, it is feasible to convert the existing school to K to 9 or K to 12 configurations with minor renovations to adapt to the elementary population.”

Capital upgrades are funded by the Province, not the school district, and reconfiguring RSS as a K-12 will not affect the district’s operating budget. It is up to the Board, working with the communities, to set the capital plan. The Board has included K-12 in Rossland in the capital plan for the last two years, and the recommendation is to add Stanley Humphries Secondary School to the plan as well, as it will need a renovation in the years to come. The majority by far of the capital budget has been devoted to Trail schools in the last 10 years, and it’s time for schools in the rest of the district to receive capital upgrades.

The Planning for the Future 1 document states: Although RSS is an old building, it is solid and in good shape except for the need of a roof replacement in the near future. [Note: most of the roof has been replaced since PFF1 was done, with the final section (at a cost of $220,000) to be completed in 2013.]

K-7 will not fit into MacLean in a way that is equitable within the district, or conducive to staff morale and excellent education for our children. Rosslanders will not accept losing our high school as well as accepting a lesser elementary situation than any other school in the district.

The Rossland Neighbourhoods of Learning committee is working toward solutions for maintaining K-12 in Rossland. The proposal we support is reconfiguring RSS as a K-12 school.

Reconfiguring RSS into K-12 would be economically viable as it brings the cost per student into the middle of all SD20 schools’ cost-per-student ratios. Closure of the MacLean school and the creation of a Neighbourhoods of Learning Centre within that building would result in additional operational savings to the school district.

Ann Quarterman, Diana Wilkes, Jennifer Ellis, Jill Sibbald, Jill Spearn, Leslie Paul, Mary Amantea, Norm Fraser, Robin Hethey, Shelley Ackerman,

Rossland Neighbourhoods of Learning Committee

Just Posted

Castlegar’s Waterline property purchased; owners to protect it for rock climbers

New owners plan to subdivide, sell bluffs to recreational climbing group

Feds, B.C. to expand Darkwoods Conservation area

New funding allows the national land trust to add some 7,900 hectares to the Darkwoods Conservation Area

Good fencing makes good neighbours— especially when your neighbours are bears

Workshop in Pass Creek this weekend to promote benefits of proper protection for livestock

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Columbia Avenue paving scheduled for weekend

Paving on Castlegar’s main thoroughfare will take place in a few days, weather permitting.

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Trudeau to meet key Pacific trade partners at APEC leaders’ summit

Canada became one of the first six countries to ratify the CPTPP

Judge orders White House to return press pass to CNN’s Acosta

U.S. District Court Judge will decide on White House press credentials of CNN reporter Jim Acosta

WikiLeaks chief could see charges, US court filing suggests

Charges against Julian Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia co-ordinated with the Trump campaign

Federal MPs denounce controversial Facebook post targeting Sajjan

Okanagan Conservatives apologize for controversial Facebook post

Canada has enough pipelines to get the moon

Pipelines totalling 840,000 kilometres run across Canada

Migrants streaming into Tijuana, but now face long stay

U.S. border inspectors are processing about 100 asylum claims a day at the main border crossing with San Diego

One month after legalization, illicit cannabis shops doing brisk business

When asked what has changed since Canada legalized on Oct. 17, one staffer said: “We’re just busier.”

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Most Read