Consolidating Twin Rivers Elementary and Castlegar Primary into one campus and reconfiguring Rossland Secondary School as a K-12 school by September 2012 were among several new facilities recommendations announced during the School District 20 (SD20) board of education meeting Monday night.
With full-time kindergarten starting this September and an increase of per-student funding, SD20 is projected to have a shortfall of about $230,000 for the 2012-2013 school year.
Supt. Jean Borsa said after conversations with municipalities and parents earlier this year, the new recommendations will now spark another round of discussions with affected communities.
“The intent [is] that now with discussion with whatever municipalities or groups that are affected in here, the board will move forward in that direction to see if it’s possible … and work out the details and then make decisions after they have details,” she explained. “It’s like the chicken and the egg. Do we wait until we have the details before we make a decision or do we involve the communities in the discussion?”
Other recommendations are:
to review all district alternative programs by March 2012 before pursuing the disposal or repurposing of the online and/or Trail Middle School facilities;
investigating enrolment challenges at Robson Community School with the goal of creating sustainable enrolment by March 2012;
maintaining the current school board office until the status of the lease to own and the Fortis building ownership is determined in 2013;
disposing of the Sunningdale facility as soon as ministry permission is obtained;
pursuing partnerships and shared services “to streamline our school district operations”;
and creating a new operating format for the Blueberry Creek Community School facility by maintaining “hub programming” in the Castlegar area by January 2012.
Borsa said it will be up to the board as to how they proceed with the discussions, but she expects them to start soon as the first point in the plan (Blueberry Creek) is to be implemented in six months.
“The discussions are intended, for example with [Blueberry Creek] to talk to the Blueberry Creek Society and the City of Castlegar and any other partner that the board identifies,” she said. “They aren’t open public meetings. They’re specific to the municipalities and the partner groups that are involved.”
Borsa said the board will also have to figure out how they proceed with voting on each recommendation.
“That’ll be a board decision – whether they vote one-by-one or wait and do a bunch or a few – it’s going to be a board decision,” she said. “That’s the direction they’re now going to pursue with more details before they make a final decision on each one of those.”
If each point is adopted, the district estimates it will save at least $389,618 annually by September 2012.