Is education in Rossland important to you?

Shelley Ackerman
By Shelley Ackerman
November 4th, 2010

or pick up a paper copy at Rossland City Hall.

The Neighbourhoods of Learning Committee is working with the City of Rossland and the Visions for Small Schools Society to create positive changes for education in Rossland. The main goal of the committee is to maintain educational choice within School District # 20. Education is a very important part of a community. The more options that are available to students from our district, the more chance that all students can have a successful educational experience.

One of the initiatives that the committee is working on is a Neighbourhood Learning Centre in which community groups and schools could share space. This could lead to more stability in terms of long term educational options in Rossland. In order to move forward, we need input from the community. Education is an issue that affects the entire community because it is often a key component in decision making when residents choose to move somewhere. A range of educational options is critical to maintaining a healthy, vibrant, growing community. This makes it an issue that affects the entire community: families, business owners, employees, home owners, seniors, and children.

Some background information:
The Neighbourhoods of Learning Committee is a subcommittee of VSS – the Visions for Small Schools Society, which was started in 2003 when Cooke Avenue School was being shut down. The mission of the VSS is to advocate and promote the existence of comprehensive public K-12 education for and within Rossland which provides a diversity of educational opportunities, retains the flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of the community, focuses on providing a high quality of educational experience, and is viable for the long term.

The Neighbourhoods of Learning committee has recently received funding for this project through the Union of BC Municipalities and the City of Rossland. The committee has been researching other Neighbourhood Learning Centres and meeting with potential stakeholders who could possibly lease space in RSS, adding beneficial services to the school, creating more of a community hub, and bringing in revenue to help cover costs of running our school. Due to the age of the building, lack of comprehensive updates and a smaller student population, RSS is currently the most expensive school to run in the School District.

At the end of September, the School District staff released their Draft Facilities Report 2010-2015: Planning for the Future, which analyzes the results of public and staff input in terms of future school configurations. They analyzed a number of different options and all four top results recommend closing RSS. Three of those top results recommend changing MacLean to a K-7 school from the current K-5. The suggested timeline recommends starting this process in the fall of 2011, with RSS closing in 2012. The board trustees will be voting on these recommendations after a series of public consultations. Please watch for upcoming meeting dates in Rossland.

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