VISIONS FOR SMALL SCHOOLS: Changes, changes, changes
Spring break has come to a close. Over the last three weeks, much has happened, both district-wide and province-wide. The School Board meets tonight with a motion regarding the shipping of grade six and seven students back to Maclean on the table; any parents concerned about the implications of such a move are encouraged to attend this public meeting. In light of all this, it’s time for a quick update:
- Rossland City Council plans to appoint two councillors to a committee made up of parent groups to contribute to a planning process with the community.The object is to formulate models for K-12 education in our city as part of our Visions to Action SUSTAINABILITY PLAN. K-12 IS IN THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN MANDATE. These appointments happen on March 22.
- A local report on demographics states that Rossland’s population has increased by 7.7% over the last four years.
- A recent letter from Deputy Minister James Gorman states that school districts are not allowed to sell schools, unless under very strict circumstances ie. to another educational institution. Mr. Gorman suggests that, instead, districts should continue to investigate cost sharing measure through the Neighbourhood of Learning concept.
- Surrey school board has announced that they can’t balance their budget and will have to lay off many teachers. This district can’t close any more schools as they need all the space. They will also look at eliminating programs. The enrollment in this district is NO LONGER DECLINING.
- Some provincial funding has been restored. HST will be subsidized. The teacher salary increase will be covered by the MoE (Minister of Education).
- The Annual Facilities Grant will be reinstated.
- The Planning for the Future 2 scenarios brought out some unfortunate emotions in Trail and, as a result, a group of parents have decided on a campaign to close RSS. You can read some of the letters on the PFF2 website, most of them submitted on March 1st. One low point of this campaign is that the they have involved their PACs (and a principal). In a 15-page submission, a parent from Glenmerry school lays out the case to close RSS. There are some serious flaws with his argument, incomplete and missing data, and suggestions contrary to MoE policy. Several Rossland parents have been working hard over the spring break to lay out, in point form, a list of facts regarding this issue. You will be able to view these on the new VSS (Visions for Small Schools) website, which should be up and running shortly. Or they will be sent out to you through your email.
- At this time the Ministry of Education does not recommend that districts balance their budget by closing schools. We are all working to give our kids the best educational experience possible. We endeavor to do this within the public school system and hope to build positive working relationships with all members of SD20.
- International program – the roll over from 09/10 into this year is $43 498. For 2010/11 the revenue is projected to increase to approximately $82 000.
- In regards to ever using portables for extra students at MacLean or Crowe (long or short term) there are additional costs as the Ministry now fines school districts for not meeting “green” initiatives. Portables do not meet levels required and therefore have fees to run them over and above regular maintenance.