NOL appeals to trustees

Rossland’s Neighbourhoods of Learning committee will renew its assault tonight on School District 20’s facilities plan, in which all the top-rated scenarios include closing Rossland Secondary School.

Representatives from the NOL group will present their concerns to the board of education about the process and criteria school district staff used to develop the scenarios, and the way in which the criteria were valued for the purposes of preparing the facilities report.

Preparation of the plan was part of the district’s Planning for the Future initiative, which was begun to deal with long- and short-term trends of lower enrolment in district programs.

The board has already cancelled a series of public meetings to discuss the various scenarios outlined in the facilities report over concerns expressed by stakeholders, including municipal councils in Rossland and Castlegar — where the contentious issue is re-purposing Castlegar Primary school — and is set to begin again with “focus group” gatherings in Castlegar, Rossland and Trail next week.

The NOL, which raised no concerns about the process when it was developed by the board over several months last term, asserts the analysis which lead to the development of the facilities plan scenarios was missing key criteria, was biased in favour of large schools, did not consider the impact of school closures on small communities, used incomplete or inaccurate data and promoted “strategic voting rather than objective discussion and resolution.”

The presentation, a template for which is available on the district’s website (under Board of Education, Board Meetings) will take place at the beginning of tonight’s meeting (7 p.m., Blueberry Creek Community School).

The focus group meetings are scheduled for March 1 at Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar, March 2 at RSS and March 3 at J. L. Crowe.