Facilities needs a black hole

Is it time to fish or cut bait? (Feb. 4 story, Parents Forge Ahead Despite Loss.)

Is it time to fish or cut bait? (Feb. 4 story, Parents Forge Ahead Despite Loss.)

It was well known throughout the area that Jan. 26 was the date the insurance company announced the contest winners (Rossland’s bid did not win). Could it be that, it was this date and Rossland’s Neighbourhood of Learning Committee’s desire to win the competition, that influenced the mayor of Rossland to shout “flawed report” in reference to School District 20’s Planning for the Future document and facilities plan? That plan analyzed the facts and judged that Rossland Secondary School should be closed.

The mayor’s allegation, with no credible evidence, was supported by Castlegar’s mayor. However, it was the mayors’ allegations that were flawed, not the PFF document.

None the less, the two of them managed to undermine the expertise of the district’s public servants to request a new process under the guise of studying 21st century learning techniques. That round-table discussion takes place at Selkirk College next week, by invitation only. 

The district was allotted (2010/2011 school year) $447,575 to repair and bring up to reasonable standard all the schools and facilities in the district.

Within the next five years (to 2015) the PFF facilities’ costs are projected to be $14,015,550. Yes, that’s $14 million.

So, at this rate ($447,575 per year), it will take 31 years to repair all the district’s facilities. Is this tenable? Some will argue that we need to get more money for our facilities. Maybe so. But let’s deal with today’s reality.

A request was submitted by the board to the Ministry of Education to build a new K to 12 school in Rossland. The ministry said “no, not at this time.” So how do we read this? Is that a “no” or a “maybe?”

At this point, it’s a no. So, should we put $3 million plus in repairs to RSS over the next five years? What if in five years, the ministry says, yes? Will we have wasted $3 million on a building that’s going to be torn down anyway?

What about Stanley Humphries in Castlegar that needs $3.1 million in repairs over the next five years? It’s the only high school in the north end of the district. Will repairs there get bumped to keep RSS going?

Does the board close yet another new school, Crowe, that requires no repairs, in order to keep RSS functioning in the south end of the district? Does it sell a new energy efficient school, Trail Middle School, to keep open a 60-year-old school in great need of repair?

Does the board fish or cut bait? Does it continue talking in circles, wasting time and resources or will it act? 

Rose Calderon

Trail