Seven Summits not responsible for SD20’s financial woes

"First, while it’s true that Seven Summits has financially hurt the District, they are absolutely not responsible for the damage."

Most of us know the terrible situation SD20 finds itself in, needing to cut $730,000 from next year’s budget, when district finances have already been cut to the bone over the years. I’ve heard it argued that Rossland’s independent Seven Summits Centre for Learning is partly responsible for the problem, having taken students from SD20, and thereby lowered transfers from the Ministry. That’s wrong for two reasons.

First, while it’s true that Seven Summits has financially hurt the District, they are absolutely not responsible for the damage.

When SD20 was considering closing MacLean School in Rossland, and cutting back grades at RSS, we told them repeatedly that this would happen. At $9000 per student, depending on your assumptions, it only takes about 20 Rossland students dropping out of SD20 to dissolve all the projected savings from shutting down our schools.

I gave the trustees a detailed spreadsheet as part of the online submissions, showing them what exactly what would happen under the various scenarios.  I told them again when they convened a public session in Rossland.  And then I told them again when they met with Rossland’s PACs.

I also warned them they would be throwing away potential revenues from Red Mountain Academies’ out of province and international students. The Academies now partner with Seven Summits instead of SD20. And I warned that the numbers would get worse over time, as whatever independent option Rossland created got more mature and more attractive as an alternative to Crowe.

And that was just one person’s input – many other people were telling them this.

So yes, Seven Summits is hurting the District’s finances, but are they responsible for the District’s problem? No. The Trustees were the ones holding the gun when SD20 shot itself in the foot.  (Just as they did when we warned them that no French immersion would lead to the school in Rossland that now enrols 45 students that would otherwise be in SD20.)

In case anyone thinks I relish having been right about all that, think again. Both my kids are in the public system, and will feel all the impacts of funding shortfalls and cutbacks, as will all the other blameless children of this district. There’s no joy in saying “I told you so” when you were predicting disaster.

Second, Seven Summits is only a small piece of SD20s woes.  SD20 had around 100 students less in September than they expected, but Seven Summits only has 22 enrolled local students (plus out-of-province and international students). Moreover, a huge chunk of the District’s deficit is from paying for a provincially-imposed CUPE contract settlement.

Ultimately, the downloading of costs like this from the Ministry, the adverse funding formula the Province uses, and this government’s disregard for the value of education – those are our common enemies.  Not Rossland’s independent school.

Aaron CosbeyRossland

Just Posted

Life insurance can be a business expense

Tax Tips & Pits with Ron Clarke, Trail Times columnist

BC senior curling championship slides into Trail

The Trail Curling Association hosts 16 men’s and women’s teams in the senior provincial championship

Snoopy shows up in snowy Silver City

What You See: If you have a recent photo to share email (large size please) to editor@trailtimes.ca

South Slocan woman killed in Friday crash

Police continue to investigate cause of fatal crash

Centennials end Trail Smoke Eaters’ win streak

The Trail Smoke Eaters lost a close 6-4 match to the Merritt Centennials on Saturday

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Interior Health on high alert for possible measles cases

No reports of the disease yet, but regular travel to the Coast could bring measles to the Interior

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Most Read