Approximately 200 people showed up at the Rossland Secondary School gym to hear the School District 20 board accept advancing the option of K-9 at RSS to a third and final reading on Feb. 25.

Approximately 200 people showed up at the Rossland Secondary School gym to hear the School District 20 board accept advancing the option of K-9 at RSS to a third and final reading on Feb. 25.

Trustees vote in favour of K-9 at Rossland Secondary School

School District 20 keeps K-9 alive in Rossland, votes down K-7 at MacLean School

The residents and students in Rossland finally got an answer Tuesday night.

In front of approximately 200 people at the Rossland Secondary School gym, the School District 20 trustees voted unanimously, 9-0, to pass Option 2 – the kindergarten to Grade 9 option at RSS – to a third reading.

It also means MacLean School will be closed and Rossland students in grades 10 to 12 will be headed to Trail’s J.L. Crowe Secondary next year.

The other option presented – Option 3 the closing of RSS and expanding MacLean School to a K-7 configuration and sending grades 8 to 12 to Crowe – was prevented from moving to a third reading by an 8-1 count.

The next step in the process will be the third reading on Option 2 at the regular school board meeting on Feb. 25 at the Trail Middle School. Should it pass, the future of the vacant MacLean School will be explored by the board members.

Tuesday night, trustees presented their views on both options. It was quickly obvious, despite greater savings from closing RSS and moving students to MacLean and J.L. Crowe in Trail, that the importance of keeping as many grades as possible in Rossland weighed in the decision.

District chair Darrel Ganzert said it was great to finally be able to move beyond the facilities review stage and look forward at improving education in the district.

“I’ve been embroiled in this, both as a union president and a member of the board, for many years. I didn’t realize until (Tuesday) what a toll it’s taken on that aspect of our job as trustees.

“I think that’s the most positive thing that will come from this. Now we’re in a position that we can look forward and look to the innovative things that the public has presented to us.

“And finally, finally, leave the bickering behind.”

Rossland Mayor Greg Granstrom admitted the best choice for Rossland would be to keep K-12 in the city but was happy the board supported K-9 at RSS.

“Out of the two options that were there, it was absolutely the most positive one for Rossland.

“I still think it leaves room for Rossland and the school board to get together and do something unique. “It might not be the best decision for us but it certainly one that gives us hope.”

Following the vote, the floor was opened up to questions from the audience with many of the questioners reiterating their passion for RSS and questioning the reasoning behind dismissing K-12 in Rossland.

Perhaps the best viewpoint of the night came from trustee Gord Smith who opened with an impassioned speech acknowledging the efforts of the citizens of Rossland as well as the deliberation by the trustees before coming to their decision.

“I’m asking you all to dig deep,” he told the audience. “Get below the turbulent surface to a place of inner calm and resolve. To regroup and continue to advocate for the best possible outcome to help build this community.”

Trustees offered up their reasoning behind supporting one option over another. A couple of trustees admitted to wavering between the two options.

Trustee Toni Driutti expressed concerns over young students housed in RSS as well as student safety with a busy street so close to the school.

However, when the final vote was taken to advance Option 2 (K-9 at RSS and closing MacLean), she joined the rest of the board in unanimous approval. She was also the only trustee to vote to advance Option 3 (K-7 in MacLean and closing RSS) to a third reading.

Trustee Kim Mandoli related her experiences of watching Montrose Elementary close and students sent to Fruitvale. She explained that Montrose had no other schools to fall back on and yet rebounded.

“Quite frankly Montrose has risen above that and actually had an abundance of young families move in,” she said. “Looking back, Fruitvale Elementary has served us all very, very well. I can honestly say they have looked after us in a great fashion.”

Other trustees took the opportunity to present their reasoning for supporting the K-9 option, including Ganzert.

He added a sobering reminder to the board that the potential cost of demolishing a closed RSS could easily wipe out any planned savings under Option 3.

Following the vote to support Option 2, the discussion turned to Option 3, closing RSS and making MacLean School a K-7.

That was quickly shot down by Smith as he listed off the many negatives associated with moving students into an already filled-to-capacity school, adding portables, which must be adapted to Rossland winters, and renovating the century-old annex.

Much to the delight of the Rossland crowd, he admitted he was “perplexed” that the board was even considering the option.

Only Driutti expressed her support for the third option but in the end was out-voted 8-1.

Ganzert closed the voting portion of the meeting by explaining the board’s bylaw requires a third reading on the K-9 option, which will be held Feb. 25.

Ganzert wrapped up his comments by thanking the patient and passionate people of Rossland.

“I understand your passion. You have been an awesome audience. I know it’s a bitter pill to swallow. What I do know about our district is that we will make this work.”







Just Posted

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

Cropped photo: Silver Screen Drive-in will be in the upper parking lot of Waneta Plaza.
Summer drive-in returns to Trail unveiling blockbuster movies

PHOTOS: Scroll to bottom for a trip down memory lane to the Auto Vue Drive-In

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read