Taxes and the potential for a Rossland-SD20 partnership

Andrew Bennett
By Andrew Bennett
February 15th, 2013

Staff have calculated the tax implications for four scenarios in which Rossland funds School District No. 20 (SD20) as part of a larger deal to secure K-12 schooling in Rossland.

The SD20 board recently voted against K-12 schooling in Rossland, and will likely give third reading to a resolution for K-9 at RSS with the closure of MacLean at the next meeting on Feb. 25.


Each funding scenario is paid back by taxation over five years. Staff used an interest rate of 2.26 per cent—although the current MFA rate, for which the city is eligible, is 1.72 per cent—and the additional tax burden is calculated for one year for an average Rossland residence with an assessed value of $265,000.


The scenarios are:

  1. $140,000 paid for one year; annual cost: $31,164; tax per residence: $14.71
  2. $140,000 paid for annually for three years; annual cost: $93,492; tax per residence: $44.13
  3. $300,000 paid for one year; annual cost: $66,780; tax per residence: $31.52
  4. $300,000 paid annually for three years; annual cost: $200,340; tax per residence: $94.57

Coun. Jill Spearn said on Wednesday evening that she was “pleasantly pleased” that the tax implications were “very reasonable.”


She said there will be “no movement” until Feb. 25 when the SD20 board gives third reading to the K-9 resolution which beat out the K-7 resolution during second reading at the board meeting held in Rossland on Tuesday evening. 


“If approved,” Spearn said, “then that will trigger us as a community, as a city, with input from NOL [Neighbourhoods of Learning], where we want to go next. There are many options. NOL is exploring interesting and creative solutions to retain K-12.”


Mayor Greg Granstrom said, “There are procedural things at S20 that could still happen there,” explaining why it will be best to wait for now.


Coun. Kathy Moore said she was “concerned,” by the waiting and preferred that “we line up our steps quickly. We should be cracking at it.” 


Moore added, with “so many obligations” in the budget, “it is more taxes for the citizens.” She acknowledged the passionate support from some citizens, but suggested that something like a referendum would be in order to allow any opposition to the idea to “have a voice.”


Spearn replied that, despite the wait, there was no end to the work. “There’s an NOL meeting again on Sunday evening, and there will be more action around that,” she said.


In response to council’s motion at the end of January to approach SD20 with talk of a partnership, Superintendent of Schools Greg Luterbach replied on Feb. 1 that “reaching a partnership agreement would be very challenging,” given the “timing.” Nevertheless, he acknowledged the “positive intent” of the motion and wrote, “The board is interested in continuing long term partnership discussions with the City of Rossland…”

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