Region should direct animosity at province, not each other

"...it should come as no surprise that even in Victoria our region is starting to become associated with perennial dysfunction.'

Rossland and Trail have become two communities so embroiled in animosity that it should come as no surprise that even in Victoria our region is starting to become associated with perennial dysfunction.

The major difference between our feuds over education versus the dissolution of the regional recreation function and controversies over sewer services is the role of the province.

Here in lies the key to this perennial tension – we are fighting the wrong foe. The citizens of Rossland and Trail should be turning our animosity against one another, as funneled through SD20, against the province instead.

None of these trustees earn their primary subsistence from their board stipends so, arguably, they could follow the lead of the Cowichan Valley School District and stand up.

After all, your true mandate is to act in our children’s best interest.

If I walked away with one main sentiment from my COOP employment this summer, within the executive branch of the provincial government, it is that passivity does not necessarily engender respect. Respect is earned. As I near the close of my degree at the University of Victoria, I have been lucky enough to be able to take a class with former Minister of Education George Abbott. As a result of these lectures and further discussion, I have come to the conclusion that Victoria is not adverse to progressive leadership on the local level that embraces new visions of service provision. RSS is at the forefront of embracing the next generation of curriculum being rolled out.

The school’s digitally assisted personal learning and academy model is innovative and exactly what the ministry hopes will allow us to rise to the very top of educational performance in the world.

If our region is to embrace a movement for reconciliation of our grievances, we must acknowledge that education and the children at the heart of the debate are not the appropriate pawns to be used for merely political ends.

Rather, we have the opportunity to come together and innovate over a policy area that has, due to negligence on the provincial level, driven us apart. Let us not give in to petty warfare between one another; but rather, let us turn the tide and become notable for recognizing that education is at the heart of vibrant communities.

The West Kootenay is lucky to be in the midst of a demographic upswing. Let us not arrest this growth, mid path, to settle political scores from a previous era.

The City of Rossland and its citizens have been proactive in embracing ownership of our children’s education. We have offered cash up front to help aid in the temporary funding shortfalls.

Perhaps this spring governments will change and so to modest adjustments in funding formulas may occur. If there is ever a time to stall and drag out any draconian decisions it is now. To veto the K-12 option in one sweep, when short term funding is being offered to allow for a longer-range discussion to occur on service sharing and community integration, is simply ridiculous. If anything, Victoria looks favorably on innovation.

Closing or downsizing RSS will not be as easy a process as the board may hope. The current minister, Don McRae, no doubt will become well versed in the situation. Perhaps we can paint a positive picture?

Brent CantaruttiVictoria

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