More required than simple ‘no’ to K-12

" reminded me of the line from the “Ballad of Jesse James” about the 'dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard.'”

When the school board wrote off K-12 education in Rossland Secondary without comment on Monday, it reminded me of the line from the “Ballad of Jesse James” about the “dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard.”

The 19th Century outlaw was famously shot in the back, while Rosslanders should have seen the potential end of their beloved high school coming. One man at last month’s public meeting recalled talk of closing RSS when he was a student in the 1960s.

But after all of the consultation the district has engaged in and the effort the community has put into making its case for a full-grade complement, something more than a no-vote by six of the nine trustees to a non-debatable first reading of a bylaw would have been fitting. Rosslanders have had ample opportunity to talk, but we don’t know whether trustees actually listened to them.

Where is the rationale? Perhaps it will come out in the process of trustees deciding which grades will remain in Rossland, which will occur later this month.

Listening, of course, is not the same as agreeing and no reasons for the trustees decision would have satisfied the bulk of Rosslanders. But at this point there is no evidence that the ample arguments put forward about avoiding overcrowded schools, wasting time on buses and alternative programs to make K-12 work have been considered.

Rosslanders have a vision for their community that includes comprehensive public education within their little mountain paradise.

The trustees vision seems to extend only as far as a horizon of portable classrooms crowding school grounds.

At the same time, when the eyes of Rosslanders mist up and their stomachs churn at the thought of losing their cherished high school, reason does seem to dissipate. The notion that the province would hive off Rossland from the Kootenay-Columbia school district to create a pocket district to satisfy the conscientious objectors up the hill is preposterous.

There is also the option of attempting to start a private school with the 50-cent dollars the province provides for those institutions or home schooling students. But a community of 3,500 people with English, French and private school systems does seem a stretch. As for home schooling, if kids sitting around the kitchen table or in a study group at the library every day is your alternative vision for secondary education in Rossland, then that is your prerogative.

The rest of the Rossland Secondary School cohort will survive or even flourish down the hill in Trail, depending on their means and the effort they put into their education. In a few years, many will be leaving Rossland, most of them for good, and a few years of schooling in a bigger and a bit more diverse institution might do them some good.


The federal Electoral Boundaries Commission has listened to at least some of the arguments of local leaders and voters. While the commission has not heeded their desire to keep the West Kootenay together in one riding, at least Greater Trail will not be carved up.

The proposed new riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay does not include Kaslo, Nelson and Salmo, which would be part of the vast Kootenay-Columbia riding, if Parliament accepts the recommendation.

Federal boundary commissions in each province are required, by law, to review the ridings after each decade, using new census figures to attempt to maintain some semblance of representation by population. Among the provinces, rep by pop is out the window as constitutional strictures mean that the citizens of dots on the map like Prince Edward Island are hugely over represented.

In British Columbia, the rural ridings have traditionally been over represented but this situation has slowly been reversed. With the latest recommendations, the majority of ridings in the Lower Mainland will have less people than the provincial average and all of them will have fewer inhabitants than the most populated ridings in the Interior.

This means that the members of Parliament from Hope to the Straight of Georgia will typically have less people to represent in vastly more compact ridings that are a direct flight away from Ottawa.

Representation by population is a fundamental principle. But communities of interest and avoiding representation by exhaustion should count for more than they would appear to in the deliberations of the commission.

Raymond Masleck is a retired Trail Times reporter.

Just Posted

“I want to see the difference in the world, embrace it, celebrate it … ” Photo: David Cantelli/Unsplash
A new way to say ‘Hello’

“Inclusion, you see, is NOT about making us all the same.”

Waneta Manor is located on Laburnum Drive in Trail. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Senior dies as Trail tenants continue wait for broken elevator to be fixed

The elevator in Waneta Manor has been out of commission since February

For Your Consideration
Brokeback Facebook: I wish I knew how to quit you!

Thom is inspired by the proliferation of viral inane questions to reevaluate his social media use

The author during GoByBike Week. Taking a break from all that high-flying on the Isador Canyon Trail. Photo: Christina Blaskovich
The auto and the bike: A paean to them both

One becomes an extension of one’s self. The other offers the sensation of flight.

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Most Read